The Hollars

The death of the mother is something people prepare for all of their lives, and John Krasinki’s comedy-drama The Hollars is one of two movies opening this week that deals with that troubling inevitability. Upon learning that his mother, Sally (beloved character actress Margo Martindale) has been hospitalized with a brain tumor, struggling graphic novelist John Hollar (director Krasinski) leaves his very-pregnant girlfriend Rebecca (Anna Kendrick) behind in New York, with her blessing, to return to his hometown. There, he has to deal with the wealth of other problems in his family: His bitter loser brother (Sharlto Copley) has moved back in with their parents while stalking his ex-wife, and his father (Richard Jenkins) is on the verge of declaring bankruptcy. And high school girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who now lives with his mother’s nurse (Charlie Day), is still into him. No new storytelling ground is broken in the charming The Hollars, but it doesn’t need to be. The core cast always feels credible as a family, and being her usual fearless self, Martindale gets her head shaved on camera. And like Clea DuVall’s The Intervention last week, beautiful women throw themselves at the actor-director. Not bad work if you can get it.

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