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Love Liza (2002)

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Following the unexplained suicide of his wife Liza, a web designer turns to gasoline fumes and remote-control airplanes while avoiding an inevitable conflict with his mother-in-law.

Director:

Todd Louiso

Writer:

Gordy Hoffman (screenplay)
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Wilson Joel
J.D. Walsh ... Bern (as JD Walsh)
Jimmy Raskin Jimmy Raskin ... Pad
Kathy Bates ... Mary Ann Bankhead
Erika Alexander ... Brenda
Sarah Koskoff ... Maura
Mark Hannibal Mark Hannibal ... Waiter with Drink
Jim Wise ... Bland Man
Trace Turville Trace Turville ... Bland Woman
Wayne Duvall ... Gas Station
Stephen Tobolowsky ... Tom Bailey
Kevin Breznahan ... Jim
Jennifer Keddy Jennifer Keddy ... Lynne
David Lenthall David Lenthall ... Hobbytown USA Clerk (as David Lenthal)
Jack Kehler ... Denny
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Storyline

Wilson Joel is a man in trouble. There's a searing pain in his gut that he can't tolerate and a dazed quietness to his struggle as he tries to maintain his equilibrium. Wilson is attempting to move on from the sudden and inexplicable suicide of his wife. His mother-in-law is there for him, but her sympathies turn quickly. He has an employer that seems to want to help him, and a workmate who wants him for herself. But nothing and no one can give Wilson solace; so, he seeks oblivion. It is not the usual alcohol or drugs. Wilson inhales fumes from gasoline cans and model airplane fuel and finds temporary salvation in the company of remote-control model enthusiasts. However, nothing that provides him relief really lasts. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Comic Tragedy

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for drug use, language and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Germany | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 January 2003 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Con amor, Liza See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,522, 5 January 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$211,724, 13 April 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hoffman plays Wilson Joel, a tech-head whose wife has recently committed suicide, although it takes us a while to figure that out. He presents a facade of conviviality in the office, sometimes punctuated by outbursts of laughter that go on too long, like choked grief. His home seems frozen in a state of mid-unpacking, and he sleeps on the floor. Eventually he stops going in to work altogether. - Roger Ebert See more »

Quotes

Mary Ann Bankhead: What did she say?
Wilson Joel: You wanna read it? Go ahead
Mary Ann Bankhead: It doesn't have my name on it.
Wilson Joel: Yea you're right. It doesn't.
Mary Ann Bankhead: But if it did I would open it, because that's what she wants.
Wilson Joel: Wanted. What she wanted.
Mary Ann Bankhead: And you refuse to honor that.
Wilson Joel: Is there something you wanna know?
Mary Ann Bankhead: No, I think there is something you don't wanta know.
Wilson Joel: I don't. I don't, I loved well. I did. I did, I loved well I don't want a letter. I don't want a fucking letter!
[...]
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Crazy Credits

SPECIAL THANKS TO Melissa Morgan's Parents and Family See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film Geek (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Song Of All
Written by Will Oldham
© 2000 Royal Stable Music (ASCAP)
Performed by Rian Murphy and Will Oldham
Courtesy of Drag City
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This is not your mother's film about death of a loved one
11 February 2003 | by darthmausSee all my reviews

This is not 'Terms of Endearment'. This film does not offer answers, explanations, or resolution, and as such I found it to be a very effective portrayal of the aftermath of a suicide.

It's not an enjoyable film to watch, but it's very much worthwhile. First off, the acting is fantastic. Philip Seymour Hoffman deserves all the raves he's getting for this role -- he's downright painful to watch. All of the supporting cast -- except for the mother-in-law portrayed by Kathy Bates, who is exhausted with her own grief -- brilliantly introduces nuances of discomfort. It's not overdone, but it's obvious that these characters are internally dealing with the question of how to deal with Hoffman's character Wilson, who has just suffered this terrible and shocking loss. The dialogue is consistently and realistically not natural, in keeping with the awkward position of the supporting characters and Wilson's deteriorating mental health.

I have seen this film criticized because Wilson's position is *so* dreary, that it may seem over-the-top, unrealistic. But, really, the character's wife recently shot herself. What bright spots were such critics expecting in this character's life at this time? I believe the writing of the plot is realistic in this regard.

Structurally, it's brave, risky, and effective. I felt alienated by the lack of explanation and resolution of Wilson's position. Not a positive emotion to walk out of a film with, but extremely powerful. The sparse soundtrack and the painfully sympathetic supporting characters all added to this feeling of alienation.


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