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Love Liza (2002)

  Directed by: Todd Louiso
Written by: Gordy Hoffman
Starring: Kathy Bates, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jack Kehler
Links: Love Liza on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Wandering slowly through the grieving process" - a review by pearly

Philip Seymour Hoffman is probably under-rated as a leading man because he doesn't look like one - he's not on-brand. The thing is, he's actually a wonderful actor. In Love Liza, he plays Wilson, a man whose wife has just committed suicide.

As Love Liza begins, I am suddenly grateful that I did not go to see it at the cinema. It is painfully quiet, indeed, I mess with the volume because I'm sure that I must have stuffed something up. Had I been at the cinema, I'm sure that by a minute into the movie, I would have been unable to concentrate, and instead been glaring at people all around me opening up their chip packets and crinkling the plastic coverings of their choc tops.

Within the comfort of my own lounge room, the experience is different. I can watch without distraction, and from the opening moments, I feel Wilson's sadness. Hoffman is not a self-conscious actor - he lets himself get right into the character. Wilson sits in silence for what seems like upwards of a minute, the kind of timing which would have radio DJs thinking horrible thoughts of "dead air!". Love Liza doesn't try to take it easy on the viewer. And of course, that's where the viewer can really benefit.

As the movie progresses, we follow Wilson as he struggles to come to terms with Liza's death. After finding a suicide note addressed to him under his pillow, he cannot bring himself to read it, and instead he stops going to work and begins to sniff gas to escape from the reality of his life.

Aside from the wonderful performance by Hoffman, there's some superb work from the supporting cast, including the delightful Kathy Bates as Wilson's mother-in-law, but also notably from Jack Kehler who plays Denny, a man who befriends Wilson. Denny has an uncanny knack of saying the first thing that pops into his head, and, usually, the most inappropriate, but at a time where everyone is on eggshells around Wilson, Denny is just the kinda guy that he needs to hang around with.

If you're interested in slow-paced character-based movies that don't have to impress with explosions every few minutes, then Love Liza is one for you. Once again, Hoffman delivers.

pearly gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 27 Nov 2003

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