Ruth (Jessica Bardem) is in her last year of high school and is looking to her future. However, it seems that her brother, Blaze (Gus Halper) cares more about it than she does. She’s a quick witted and bright girl, but all she wants to do is get on with life by her brother’s side and that suits her just fine.
Although, when Ruth gets a letter saying she’s been accepted into college and that they’re about to be evicted from their home, Ruth makes a decision to get involved with a scrapping business. She knows the risks involved, but she knows that if she makes enough money then she can build a brighter future.
Holler is a poignant coming of age drama written and directed by Nicole Riegal that tells a story about a teenager coming to a crossroads in life. However, this is not a tale of true love or tragedy as Holler tells its story as realistically as possible and has Bowden front and centre.
Giving a great performance, Jessica Bowden holds the screen with the energy of a bright and determined teenage girl despite being somewhat older than her character. Thankfully though, the casting of Bowden is just as realistic as the tone of the rest of the film. The chemistry between her and Halper also feels real, making a sweet and loving bond between siblings which helps later on down the line where Ruth’s life unexpectedly changes.
Holler may also feel a little slow to some, as the setting although feeling familiar, and it may come across a little mundane. However, this is something that is rarely seen where teenagers are so often depicted as self-obsessed narcissists and not adults just waiting to happen.
Ruth also has issues with her mother, Rhonda (Pamela Adlon) who has drug addiction problems and although theses scenes are short, they add yet another layer. Also, although Ruth’s relationship with her mother is fraught, it also feels real with no sense of hyperbole.
Holler is a slow moving and thoughtful drama about a side of life rarely seen in cinema for someone so young, but it’s worth seeing all the same.
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