|Rachel Keller (left) and Tobin Mitnick (right) in HOLLIDAYSBURG|
Courtesy of Starz
2014, 87 minutes
Review by Joshua Handler
Hollidaysburg tells the story of a few college students whose lives intersect over Thanksgiving break. While the film certainly falls prey to some of the usual clichés, Martemucci does an admirable job giving the film a sense of honesty and a big heart (some of this comes from Dan Schoffer's screenplay as well). Hollidaysburg is modest in every respect, but it's extremely likable and there's no pretense in Martemucci's direction. Martemucci hits every emotional beat, creating a film that is warm, smart, and very watchable.
The cast is excellent, with Tobin Mitnick and Rachel Keller standing out. They are the film's romantic core and have natural chemistry. Like Martemucci's direction, their performances are completely lacking in pretense. They are like any people you might meet at a party, which makes spending 87 minutes with them highly enjoyable.
Nine times out of ten, indie films are shot on low budgets and, much as I hate to write this, look like it (that's not always a bad thing, though). Hollidaysburg was shot on a small budget, but looks as good as any larger-budgeted film thanks to Meena Singh's dark, rich cinematography and quietly beautiful shot composition.
Overall, Hollidaysburg is a really good film with strong performances and a smart screenplay that announces the arrival of a major new directorial voice in Anna Martemucci. I sincerely hope Martemucci gets the chance to direct another film. She obviously has what it takes to direct a film and if this is where she's starting, she will be truly great after a few more films.