Monday, June 14, 2021

Holler Review: A Diamond In The Rough

Pamela Adlon	...	Rhonda Jessica Barden	Jessica Barden	...	Ruth Austin Amelio	Austin Amelio	...	Hark Becky Ann Baker	Becky Ann Baker	...	Linda Gus Halper	Gus Halper	...	Blaze Grace Kaiser	Grace Kaiser	...	Tonya Larry Jones	Larry Jones	...	Tigerboy Joe Hemsley	Joe Hemsley	...	Mr. Porter Trevor Evans	Trevor Evans	...	Pudge

Release date: June 11, 2021
Running time: 91 minutes
Director: Nicole Riegel
Writer: Nicole Riegel (screenplay by)
Stars: Pamela Adlon, Jessica Barden, Austin Amelio, Becky Ann Baker, Gus Halper, Grace Kaiser, Larry Jones

To pay for her education, and the chance of a better life, a young woman joins a dangerous scrap metal crew.

Michael Bachochin	...	co-producer Adrienne Becker	...	executive producer Adam Cobb	...	producer (p.g.a.) Abigail Disney	...	executive producer Chelsea Donison	...	associate producer Paul Feig	...	executive producer Rachel Gould	...	producer Jessie Henderson	...	executive producer Maria Krovatin	...	associate producer Gretchen McGowan	...	executive producer Katie McNeill	...	producer (p.g.a.) Jamie Patricof	...	producer (p.g.a.) Karah Preiss	...	executive producer Jacob Suggs	...	associate producer Christy Spitzer Thornton	...	producer (p.g.a.) Michael J. Urann	...	associate producer / co-producer
Holler is such a simple and yet so complex film.  It is set in a small, dying town and is an honest look at life in this world.  But the film is much deeper than that thanks to the performance of Jessica Barden.  I mean, all of the performances are good in this film, but Barden truly carries the movie.  As Ruth, she is a complex character who has so much potential but who is torn in so many directions trying to help her family and especially her brother who has been caring for her.  She is a smart, driven individual that wants more to life but also feels the responsibility of staying at home.

And the simple yet complex aspects of the film also show in the cinematography.  The general style is bleak, with muted, white colors throughout the town.  But these are offset by some bright colors on the characters.  Ruth wears a red beanie and a red coat, others wear bright blues or pinks to really have them stand out from the background.  It is subtle but shows that there is more to these characters than meets the eye.  And the simple yet complex aspect also translates to the music, which has a rich, classical undertone throughout.  You have a somewhat simple town but this beautiful, buttery music underneath that really helps to set the tone.

But what really makes this film is the story.  I loved seeing how Ruth lives and what she had to do to survive.  Little things that many people take for granted are not available to this young woman.  She is forced to deal with more than she should but is able to handle it because of her quick wits and hard nosed attitude.  And I also loved seeing how her personality is too big and her intellect too sharp for this environment.  But it is very different from other films of big fish in a small pond.  Ruth doesn't flaunt her gifts or shine brighter than everyone else, but she conducts herself with a quiet confidence that shines through in the film.  I also appreciated seeing all the road blocks that life threw in her way and how she had to deal with them.  If there are any negatives, it is that the cinematic style also leaves the colors muted.  I think this is intentional, but the film has an older feel to it like it is going for a more classic look than something more modern.  Additionally, some of the sound effects are muted making it tough to understand what is going on in some pivotal scenes.  But don't let these minor critiques dissuade you.  Holler is a rare film that has something to say but does it with a simple style and confidence that belies its modest format.

Holler is a journey of self-discovery with a standout performance from Barden and a quiet confidence that lets this film shine despite its intentionally modest style.

Watch it.

Directed by  Nicole Riegel	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Nicole Riegel	...	(screenplay by)

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Holler is available digitally on June 11, 2021.  

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