Directed by Amile Wilson and written by Guinn Terry, Mr. Holloway’s Toy Company features an aging toy maker visited by the son of a corporate rival, who plans to either buy or imitate his product. It’s a story of values and lessons on whether the toys we give to children are meant to make them happy or simply entertain them until the next big thing.
Robert “BJ” Johnson gives a breakout performance as the titular toy maker. His delivery of lines and mannerisms present a deep fondness and understanding to the character and source material. The unkind years of a toy maker in corporate America somehow haven’t crushed the joy in Mr. Holloway’s heart and Johnson hints at that with the thoughtful way he looks at things in every scene.
My favorite aspect of the film is the duality we see between Holloway and Baxter, but then the similarities when you realize they’re just opposite ends of the same spectrum. Baxter Glenfeld, who was born to an affluent family, seems to symbolize the idea of toys used to distract children and keep them preoccupied while adults work The idea that he becomes interested in a former orphan’s love for her toy, that means more than anything to her that his father’s company creates, is what sets him on a path to discover Holloway at the other end of the spectrum where less fortunate children find happiness in Holloway’s toys.