There are some movies that are almost too hard to watch.Holly
is one of those movies. It’s not what happens that makes
so difficult for viewers (well, at least this viewer), it’s what’s always just about to happen. The story of a 12-year-old Vietnamese girl, Holly (Thuy Nguyen), and a 40-year-old American, Patrick (Ron Livingston), the film takes an unblinking look at child prostitution in Cambodia.
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New to her brothel, Holly is still a virgin, but her madam (what a nice word for whore monger) is busy hawking Holly’s virginity so we know it’s only a matter of time before the beautiful and innocent Holly spends a traumatic half hour under some drunken, grunting beast who had the right amount of pocket change. When she meets Patrick, an American who deals in stolen artifacts, there’s a gut wrenching moment, will he be the one to buy Holly’s virginity? Thankfully he declines the madam’s offer to make “boom-boom” with the girl. But the relief is temporary, we know the madam will offer the girl up to the next man passing and he might not be so cavalier.
Holly offers up intimate, telling moments, each of them almost too real, too painful to look at. Slow-moving, but tense, with gloomy foreshadowing at every turn, Holly is difficult, but worth the effort. - Olivia Flores Alvarez
Click here for showtimes. For a special making-of documentary, check out the video below.