Love Liza Reviews
Following his wife's suicide, computer designer Wilson Joel (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is left with a goodbye note he cannot bring himself to read. His grief takes a peculiar turn when he becomes addicted to sniffing gasoline and becomes involved in flying toy planes just to feed his petrol habit.
Sometimes a film comes along that's not entirely classic stuff but gives an exceptional actor a showcase role and a chance to show what they can do. This is that very film for Hoffman. His performance is marvellous, shifting effortlessly from one emotion to another as he conveys the depths of his despair and emotional suffering. This is an actor displaying his full acting range and when his performance was lavished with superlatives, it deserved every one of them. The film itself is an offbeat little drama, that doesn't follow the conventions of it type. It has touches of brilliance and director Todd Louiso (in his debut) shows that he can confidently craft a good character study. The supporting roles are also well played by the ever-reliable Kathy Bates as Wilson's mother-in-law and especially Jack Kehler as Wilson's childlike friend Denny - who all but reprises his small role of The Dude's landlord in the "The Big Lebowski". The problem with the film though, is the pace. It's only 90mins long but feels longer somehow, as sharing a character's mental and emotional anguish isn't good for the time flying.
If sitting through a film where the main character is in a constant state of suffering and losing his grip on reality, doesn't appeal to you then avoid this, but by avoiding you would only miss out on an acting masterclass.
DIRECTED BY: Todd Louiso
Following the unexplained suicide of his wife Liza, website designer Wilson Joel (Philip Seymour Hoffman) turns to gasoline fumes and remote control gaming while avoiding an inevitable conflict with his mother-in-law (Kathy Bates).
Oh what a sad, depressing movie that was brilliantly done by Hoffman. Just so raw and honest. The more movies I see with Hoffman the more I love him. He is amazing. Kathy Bates is amazing she needs no praising. Just the two of them in this film were great. You feel so bad for his character and the downward spiral he is going down. Although it's a bit slow, the performances you get is well worth it.
For this film to bill itself "a comic tragedy" and "surprisingly funny" is complete bullshit. I laughed once. The supposed "humor" is entirely at Philip Seymour Hoffman's expense and just makes the entire movie even more awkward and depressing. Really, this movie is a mess; the only redeeming qualities are getting to experience those scattered touching moments and Hoffman's brilliant (of course) performance. Even his acting gets a little wearying by the end of the movie, though it probably has to do with the character.
If someone's wife commits suicide and I spend more of the movie being bothered by them instead of feeling sorry for them, then I would say that it was probably a failure.
Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance is certainly the most notable aspect of the film, making it worth watching for its shear depth and power alone. He embodies the manic personality perfectly, sometimes deliriously upbeat, other times helplessly distraught and confused. This is what the film gets right, a loss such as what Hoffman's character experienced is not easily gotten over, and does not offer happy endings or easy answers. Life can be confusing, inexplicable, and harsh, Love Liza captures this with a mature sense surpassing many similarly themed films.
The problem with Love Liza, however, is that its script, smart in its characterizations, doesn't pay off in a narrative sense. The relationship between Hoffman and his wife is never fully explored, with no sense of resolution to be had, which can work, but only if we can more aptly identify with the dynamics at work. The film offers interesting characters, but raises more questions than it answers, leaving the film in a bit of a meandering spot.
An overall effective drama, notable for its strong central performance.
Love Liza is slow-moving, confusing, and plotless, but it's something that you won't find all that often; genuine. It's had a considerable amount of time put into it, and while it isn't utterly perfect, it's honest and relatable to anyone whose experienced a loss in their life.
Most of all, Love Liza is anchored by a strong central performance from Philip Seymour Hoffman. He's always good at playing an emotionally strained character and here he does not disappoint. It's great to hear him yell.
A seriously underrated work.
What we are left with is a very real portrait of depression, coping with loss, and how close one may come to "closure".
I see Love Liza as one of those simple, rare little delights. Excellent writing, mind blowing acting (of course) from Hoffman, and camera work that I can only describe as "Gentle." There is a beautiful sea-like color palette, and despite having few characters - it is completely engaging and heart breaking.
A man's wife suddenly kills herself, and distraught he in turn begins a self destructive lifestyle o...(read more)f huffing gasoline. In order to explain why he's carrying gas around with him, he lies and says it's for remote controlled air planes. After a gas attendent finally calls him on it, he begins a bender/mental collapse induced mission to find a remote control plane competition. Slow paced, but rewarding, and sincere. Though bleak at times it's one of the most emotionally rich looks at greif, I've ever seen in a film. Or wanted to see, for that matter, because the subject disinterested me from the word go. Anway it's a great thing to be proven wrong sometimes. "I am a BIG FAN of Radio Control"!
This is the role that should've garnered him the attention that he later found with Capote.