AnonymousJune 11, 2021 at 12:20 PM
Nicole Riegel’s debut feature “Holler” is a film to treasure—an intimate drama about family and work, steeped in details that can only have been captured by a storyteller who lived them. It follows a tough, resourceful high school senior named Ruth (Jessica Barden) whose family struggles to survive in a dying industrial community, and who is torn between leaving town to take her chances at college or staying behind out of a sense of responsibility to her big brother Blaze (Gus Harper) and her mother Rhonda (Pamela Adlon), a drug addict who’s drying out in county jail. The characters are vividly etched and have a understated, wire-tough realness that has become increasingly rare in American cinema.
But if you stand back and look at everything that happens, “Holler” is more than a coming-of-age story. It’s a wrenching portrait of the United States in the early 21st century, a country that has lost whatever sense of collective responsibility it used to have, and is not only shredding what’s left of its safety net but is selling off the remnants of middle-class life much like the metal scrappers at the center of this movie, who scavenge the town for resalable material because it’s so hard to earn a halfway decent living otherwise.
The story is simple and straightforward: here is a town, these are some of the people who live there, and these are a few of the things they do to get by. Most of “Holler” is conveyed not through expository dialogue (except for a few necessary but clunky bits
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