A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Make the best of your situation.
Positive Role Models
While the characters are too two-dimensional to be seen as role models, elderly characters are shown to be full of life rather than befuddled and/or senile.
Violence & Scariness
Lead character's friend pretends to approach her with a mask and gun pretending to rob her in order to scare her into remembering where a sack of money might be hidden -- it's merely a paintball gun.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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Infrequent profanity: "t-t," "son of a bitch," "crap," "damn," "smartass," "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters shown drunk, stumbling home. Grandmother drinks from a flask. Drunk Santa puppet shown drinking from a flask, falling over, slurring speech. Beer and champagne drinking. Cigar smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Holly Star is a 2018 holiday-themed romantic comedy in which a down-on-her-luck puppeteer returns to her hometown for the holidays and gets caught up in a treasure hunt. Expect a fair amount of drinking throughout, including scenes in which characters drink in bars then stumble home, a grandmother who drinks from a flask, and a Santa puppet who drinks from a flask and falls over while slurring his speech. Cigar smoking. Some mild profanity throughout ("t-t," "son of a bitch," "damn"). A woman, in the hopes of scaring her friend into remembering more about the buried treasure, dresses like a robber and wields a firearm that's shortly after revealed to be a paintball gun. Kissing. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While this has some talented acting and dry humor to prevent it from being as saccharine as other holiday romcoms, it never quite goes beyond the limitations of both genres. There just isn't enough there to go beyond stories and characters we've seen so many times before. There's the lead character, home for the holidays in her rural small town after struggling and failing to find success in "the big city." There's her best friend, who at best is a stock "weird" character and at worst comes off like an unfunny creation from a failing improv troupe. We have the grandmother who prefers drinking from a flask and dancing the tango over Bingo. And, finally, the nice guy who stayed in town after college and sees the good in the little town that the harried urbanite lead character might have forgotten about.
Holly Star is the kind of movie that tries to break the mold of the genres it works with while being completely constrained by them. As a romcom and holiday fare, it's easy enough to suss out the overall themes, even with curve balls like treasure hunts thrown into the mix. While it does its best to avoid the kind of sentimentality that is the Hallmark Channel's stock in trade, it never really escapes the tropes and cliches of other "home for the holidays" movies.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.