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Hateship Loveship - DVD Review

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Loveship Hateship - DVD Review

3 stars

The first scene of Hateship Loveship sets the tone of this quirky indie drama, starring Kristen Wiig. Main character Johanna Parry (Wiig) attends to a sickly old woman in bed. “I’d like to wear my blue dress,” the woman says. When Johanna returns to the room, the elderly woman has died. But Johanna’s a determined caretaker to the end: with awkward struggling, she manages to change the body into the requested dress. There’s a bit of dark humor in the moment, but mostly we are impressed by Johanna’s quiet respectfulness. She never says much, but she’s a truly good person and we root for her.

Johanna finds new work in the Iowa home of Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte), who needs help raising his granddaughter Sabitha and keeping up with housework. McCauley’s drug addicted son-in-law Ken (Guy Pearce) has limited contact with his daughter but longs to get closer. McCauley, though, despises Ken for causing the car accident that killed Sabitha’s mother. Into this messy family drama steps the naive nanny and housekeeper.

When Ken writes Johanna a brief thank-you note, she replies with a heartfelt letter. Then Sabitha and her cruel friend intervene to play a prank: impersonating Ken, they begin a phony email correspondence with the nanny. The girls feign Ken’s growing romantic interest in Johanna, who eagerly falls for the deception. Ken lives in a rundown Chicago motel, where he’s occasionally joined by fellow junkie Chloe (Jennifer Jason Leigh). Johanna knows nothing about Chloe; Ken knows nothing about the emails or Johanna’s crush on him. Everything comes to a head when Johanna packs up for Chicago and visits Ken, hoping to move in.

The story takes a strange, surprisng turn once the truth comes out. The bombshell doesn’t have the impact that we expect. In fact, without giving away too much, what unfolds in the movie’s second half is like a wish come true for Johanna. Thorny problems are easily solved in ways that strain credibility. Also, subplots are brought up only to be dropped. Christine Lahti deserves more screen time as a gossipy bank teller and love interest for McCauley. Similarly, the well cast Jennifer Jason Leigh steals her few scenes as Ken’s on-again, off-again druggie girlfriend. We see Sabitha and her friend have a falling-out that is later forgotten. The plot has odd twists and leaves questions unanswered.

This is Kristen Wiig’s first dramatic lead role. It was a brave choice, as her character relies on body language more than lines. When Johanna does speak, her soft voice tends to trail off. She wears frumpy old dresses and almost no makeup. She is believable, but there’s little humor in the role or in the movie as a whole. Based on a short story by Canadian writer Alice Munro, this offbeat film is quite a departure from Kristen Wiig’s usual comic material. While she proves she can play a serious role, Hateship Loveship lacks the mainstream appeal of her earlier work.

Loveship Hateship - DVD Review

MPAA Rating: R for drug use, some sexuality and language
Runtime:
104 mins
Director
: Liza Johnson
Writer:
Mark Poirier
Cast:
Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Hailee Steinfeld
Genre
: Drama
Tagline:
Loveship Hateship
Memorable Movie Quote: "Hey, don't tell Sabitha I've got a headache, she'll just worry about me. Thanks gorgeous."
Distributor:
IFC Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 11, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 12, 2014
Synopsis: Johanna Parry, a quiet caregiver, starts a new job working for elderly Mr. McCauley and his teenage granddaughter Sabitha. A cruel trick by Sabitha lands Johanna in an awkward one-way relationship with Ken, Sabitha’s estranged father, but her newfound ambition and desire give her courage to transform her awkward doom into real contentment.

Loveship Hateship - DVD Review

DVD

DVD Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 14, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English
Language:
English
Discs: Single disc (1 DVD)
Region Encoding: A/1

The only supplement in this bare-bones DVD is the movie trailer, which basically gives away the whole plot.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • Theatrical Trailer

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