Indie cinema is built on the foundation of a thousand comedy dramas, many of which entrench themselves within the 'dysfunctional family' sub-genre. However, for every hit like The Royal Tenenbaums and Little Miss Sunshine, there's a hundred more that fail out-quirk the competition, or garner Sundance acclaim.
Among the many indie films that try to put a novel spin on the unconventional family each year, few of these tragi-comedies actually hit the mainstream, and even fewer gain award recognition.
2017 may prove to be no exception, although if there's any justice in Hollywood, John Krasinski's second directorial effort will be the dark horse of the Oscars next year. While there's little buzz surrounding The Hollars so far in terms of award success, a powerhouse performance from Margo Martindale could make all the difference and earn the film all of the recognition that it deserves.
Who Is Margo Martindale?
Although the 65 year-old actress has worked consistently for a number of decades, Margo Martindale still isn't a household name yet, despite her impressive resume. Possessing one of those faces that you know you've seen before yet can't quite place, Martindale has been quietly stealing scenes in everything from The Hours and Million Dollar Baby to August: Osage County, winning three Emmy's for roles on TV's Justified and The Americans along the way.
The Hollars boasts an extremely impressive cast, including the likes of Sharlto Copley and Krasinski himself alongside Oscar nominees such as Richard Jenkins and Anna Kendrick — but Margo Martindale is undoubtedly the standout performer here.
Check out the official trailer for The Hollars below:
In fact, the entire narrative ultimately revolves around Martindale's matriarchal character, Sally Hollar, who collapses in the film's opening scene. After being rushed to hospital, Martindale's character and the rest of her family learn that a tumor has grown inside her brain, and that it's currently the size of a softball. The rest of the story then follows the ripples that this shock creates amongst each member of the Hollar family.
So Why Does Margo Martindale Deserve Academy Recognition In The Hollars?
Between Copley's inability to deal with his divorce and Jenkins's inability to deal with life, Martindale's matriarch is the one figure in the movie who truly grounds the story, caring for everyone else around her, even though she's the one stuck dealing with a brain tumor in hospital.
Although she's not in every scene, Martindale imbues her character with a grounded strength that quietly steals every scene. There's no need for showy theatrics or dramatic monologues. Martindale's charisma shines through whether she's talking about her favorite TV show or memories from her past.
Check out a clip of Margo playing Sally in the video below:
Martindale's restrained performance throughout The Hollars makes the one moment where she truly lets loose even more impressive, ultimately becoming the heart and soul of the film. The scene in question occurs after Sally quietly reassures her family members that she'll be fine as they break down around her prior to surgery. It's only when the staff are set to wheel Martindale's character to the operating theater that Sally suddenly crumbles, crying out that she's not ready.
Seeing the family's matriarch suddenly break down into a sobbing wreck is arguably one of the most real and heart-wrenching moments depicted in any film this year and for that alone, Martindale deserves serious award recognition.
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In an interview with Variety, director Krasinkski echoed our sentiments, explaining his favourite scene from The Hollars:
"For me, the moment when Margo broke down. It’s a gauntlet that’s thrown down that I think I was just lucky to have been there for as an actor, director or creative person in general. That’s how you do your job and bring true humanity and love to something that is fake. She brought a reality to it that I think is so unbelievable powerful to it that I’m just honored she was in my movie."
Sally Hollar definitely deserves a mention in this list of pop culture's most badass women:
If further evidence is needed that Martindale should be considered at the Oscars in 2017, voters should also take into account the scene where Sally's son shaves her hair off in preparation for surgery. Whether you're ultimately a fan of The Hollars or not, it's hard to deny that Martindale is one of the most impressive and underrated talents working in Hollywood today. Failing that, just give her another Emmy for her insane role as 'Character Actress Margo Martindale' on the animated Netflix comedy, Bojack Horseman.
Could The Hollars receive serious award recognition?
Source — Variety