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Holly
Holly
Actors: Ron Livingston, Chris Penn, Udo Kier, Virginie Ledoyen, Thuy Nguyen
Director: Guy Moshe
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
R     2009     1hr 53min

Ron Livingston delivers a powerful breakout performance as a 'comfortably numb' American gambler, immersed in a dangerous and shocking culture of corruption, slaver and deceit. Disgusted and inspired, he finds true menaing...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Ron Livingston, Chris Penn, Udo Kier, Virginie Ledoyen, Thuy Nguyen
Director: Guy Moshe
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: WEA Corp DVD
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 01/27/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2009
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2009
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 53min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Saddest film I have seen in years; powerful topic
Steve Kuehl | Ben Lomond, CA | 01/25/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"It is too bad that this film took years to come to the masses via DVD with such an important topic. The production companies and staff have made a mission to raise awareness on the child sex slave/prostitution that exists in the world, and in this particular case they cover Cambodia/Vietnam rings very graphically.

The story revolves around an American living in Southeast Asia that runs unknown missions for what appears to be a friend/boss, played by Chris Penn. On one of his sojourns he has to spend some extra time in a slum/brothel neighborhood and happens to cross paths with Holly, a 12-year old girl being sold into the sex trade. Through the course of unlikely and uncomfortable events, they form a bond and Ron's character attempts to "save" her. Along the way we see a spattering of harsh visuals involving 5 year old boys and girls soliciting men for sex and landscapes of the impoverished region ebbing out an existence. There is not much depth given to the American/German characters and what they do and why, nor how they keep randomly meeting but I digress.

Udo Kier, Chris Penn and Ron all give standard performances but the obvious importance is about the story. The DVD has one docu associated with the filmmaking, one pertaining to the staff receiving an anti human trafficking award, and one excerpt from the "Children for Sale" docu; all total 20 minutes. I think they could have advertised the film quite differently, as they kept saying this was Ron's "breakout performance", but he had already had several performances much better than this. Chris Penn is credited on the case with his "final role" and it is too bad his 10 minutes on screen here could not have been better, but it was nice to see him these few years later. SPOILERS: The ending is very frustrating and does leave a lesser feeling about the characters you just invested two long hours watching.

A powerful subject with an ok film made by an impassioned crew. It is a tough couple hours to see what happens to these children, so be prepared."
Wonderfully moving film
Bergdorf_Blonde | New York City | 02/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This movie tells us the sad, compelling, and realistic story of 12 year old Holly, a victim of the sex trade in South East Asia and her friendship with Patrick, an American expat. The acting is excellent on the part of the lead actress, Thuy Nguyen, the locals, and Udo Kier who plays a German sex tourist. The other main characters have average performances. I found Ron Livingston's role to be a bit nebulous as it's rather unclear exactly what his job/criminal activity entails.

A majority of films concerning sex trafficking are documentaries that jump around from scene to scene- which is what makes this film so refreshing as it tells the story of one girl. You can't help but become immersed right from the start. The film shows us how the underage sex trade spans through all levels of society including the absolute corruption of police and government officials, the brothel owners use of drugs and other compliance techniques, and the hopelessness of the victims. I highly recommend watching this timely and relevant film.

For those who enjoy Holly I can recommend the Vietnamese movie "A Little Heart", also about a young girl sold to a brothel and "Children of the Dark"- a Japanese feature about pedophiles in Thailand and the murder of children to steal and sell their body parts to well moneyed westerners."
"I stopped; I looked into her eyes."
J. K. Hinton | TX USA | 06/30/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"HOLLY, will take you on a 113 minute, harrowing journey, through the streets of Cambodia and into the brothels of Phnom Penh, where much of the filming actually takes place. This film project is a (very) slow-paced, character driven drama, exploring human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children, and, disgustingly, how the Red-Light-District has evolved into a planned vacation stop, for many American and European men, who rationalize their behaviors as being culturally acceptable. It appears that, what happens in Cambodia, stays in Cambodia.

And, indeed, selling children into sexual slavery IS culturally acceptable in Cambodia, becoming almost a right-of-passage for some young girls---a way to help their impoverished family; to stave off hunger. They hold no malice toward those who have profited, only grief of separation. In essence, they have been groomed for this role.

Holly (Thuy Nguyen) meets such a fate, as a 12 year old Vietnamese girl, purchased, and smuggled, over the border into Cambodia. She is beautiful, bright and head-strong. But her free-will is quickly ruled into submission, when threatened that lack of compliance, will result in the purchase of her baby sister. She is willing to accept her plight, to protect her sibling. As a young, virginal girl, she sits in the brothel, while the Madame bides her time, waiting for the highest bidder---one who will pay well for bragging rights of being---the first.

Patrick (Ron Livingston), an American expatriate, has been residing in Cambodia, inking a living gambling and doing some courier work for Bangkok gangster, Freddie (Chris Penn). He is a self-loathing oaf, lacking ambition and comes across as emotionally sterile. His character deftly establishes him as the antihero figure. He appears to have disregard for the Cambodian sex trade, until the day he stops and looks into the eyes of Holly. They develop a friendship and Patrick realizes that rescuing her might put him on the path of personal redemption. They embark on a perilous journey together.

Thuy Nguyen gives the best performance, as Holly. You will connect strongly with her character. Ron Livingston's performance lacks some credibility and is somewhat contrived. He is much too naive to have lived in Cambodia as long as indicated. There also needed to be more back-story to develop his character further---to explain the emptiness he was trying to rectify. Chris Penn gives a credible performance, in this, his last film. And, the character that will fill you with loathing is portrayed by, Udop Kier, the lecherous, European Attorney, who vividly depicts 'the typical vacationer' that keeps the business growing.

This film was produced specifically to bring light to the atrocity of sex trafficking, and, there is a certain amount of stomach-churning realism delivered. However, for me, it played out superficially. It was as though the filmmakers, themselves, couldn't commit to revealing the depth of the horrors surrounding this heart-wrenching business. The message could have been delivered with much more of a galvanizing effect, through a well delivered documentary, instead of this relatively low budget film. However, that said, this film is still deserving of attention, because it will pull at your heartstrings, while filling you with rage.

This film also suffered from inadequate closure. It left me suspended in a deep, hauntingly sad, and powerless void. Although it has been strongly supported by non-profit organizations campaigning against human trafficking, remedies to the problems appear few. Even the children's advocate in the movie appeared defeated. She stated that there are approximately 30,000 children sex slaves in Cambodia, and the numbers are growing---that buying one child out of slavery is not productive---that it just makes one an enabler. So what are the answers? The reality is, that there are thousands of families avoiding starvation by selling one, or more of their children and it is a socially acceptable practice. The poverty is unlikely to end; the exploitation is destined to continue. We are left to silently grieve for the Holly's of Cambodia, as well as all children, throughout the world, facing such abuses."
A good film about a tough subject
Margaux Paschke | New York | 05/31/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I like that dvd releases make more movies available to the masses. I never heard of this movie but I was glad to have the chance to view it. The film did a very good job of telling a tough story - the trafficking of children. It deals with one specific story of a young girl named Holly. She was sold by her mother and ends up in Cambodia (she is from Vietnam) in a brothel. She runs across an American (Ron Livingston) who is stirred by her plight. He is a compulsive gambler who makes money through black market deals. I think it involves illegal artifacts but it is never made clear. He is all too familiar with the darker side of life but when he is face-to-face with the child market, he is appalled but does what most of us do - he ultimately turns away. He doesn't think he can change anything but his conscience makes him go back. I'll leave the rest alone but I, also, had a problem with the uneven ending. I detracted one star for the ending and some bland acting.

This movie tried to explain the problem as a cultural one. This area is poor and girls' families have sold their children for decades for survival. Girls have been brought up to understand the importance of sacrificing themselves for their families and that this gesture would ensure their next life was a good one. Holly envisions her next life as a princess to help her deal with her fate. These moments were poignant.

I recommend this film for the story that outshines everything else. It tells a compelling tale of one girl's plight.
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