The Hottest State
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It's a near perfect blend of self-indulgence with a sense of humility. I was truly glad I saw this film, after months of ignoring and thinking that I would not like it.
The film recounts a brief, magical love affair between 20-year-old William (Mark Webber), Texas-born living in New York, and Sara (Catalina Sandino Moreno), a beautiful Mexican who has moved to the city to pursue her singing career. The film unfolds with an easy, natural spontaneity that is both engaging and faintly ominous (we know where it's heading because William informs us in voice-over). Working with his actors and crew, Hawke uses simple, unassuming brush strokes to communicate the joy and misery, and the complexity, of falling in love. William's trouble is that he has fallen in love with "a force of evil," which is to say, with unfathomable femininity.
The Hottest State shows the futility of romantic desire without ever opting for self-pity or easy cynicism. Hawke imbues the film with the wisdom and acceptance of a broken heart made stronger and freer by the breakage. Hawke's film gets at something universal, and cuts all the way to the bone. As a result, it may stir feelings we'd rather not have to deal with, ones we'd hoped we'd put to rest. I don't think I have ever seen a romantic film that manages to be this painful without being in the least bit sentimental. It's not so much about the sadness of watching a great love die, but about the horror and incomprehensibility of it.Read more ›
Mark Webber plays the role with great subtlety, though I think saying he is a new Brando goes a bit far. Much of his acting is in his body language and the atmosphere he brings with him, which are the marks of true talent. The girl is played expertly by Moreno. Of course, her agenda differs from his and she is unwilling to fulfill the role he has created for her in his mind. (After all, you only want what you cannot really get as a youth.) She is at turns manipulative, caring, vulnerable, beautiful, plain, fascinating, and dull. Linney is great in her cameos as the struggling mother who made some poor choices. Braga's cameo as a manipulative alcoholic mother is pitch perfect.
This is not an easy film to watch, but it rang very very true for me. Warmly recommended.
Catalina Sandino Moreno as Sarah was likeable enough, but the problem was the writing and directing, for which Ethan Hawke was solely responsible. On the other hand, there was a lot of good music, written by Jesse Harris, who also played a member of Sarah's band. It starts off with a song by Willie Nelson, written by Jesse Harris, and continues with lots of songs by Mr. Harris performed by either himself, Brad Mehldau, Norah Jones, The Black Keys, Leslie Feist, Emmylou Harris, Cat Power, Bright Eyes, M. Ward, or Tony Scherr. Sarah's singing is dubbed in by Rosario Ortega. Jesse Harris is the guy who wrote "Don't Know Why" for Norah Jones. The first time I saw him perform I was under whelmed, but then I expected a lot because that song he wrote for Miss Jones was phenomenal.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a very important work for all those who want to try and make sense of how things can go from great to terrible in a relationship in such a short time.Published 14 months ago by David Abramowitz
The main characters where a little bit of a push over. He was literally was obsess with a girl who sometimes loved him back. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
I really liked this one, surprisingly Ethan Hawke has written a very endearing story about a self absorbed aspiring actor that has trouble connecting to anything due to father... Read morePublished on May 23, 2012 by Neal Damiano
I loved this book when I first read it in college around 12 years ago. Some of the lines are so incredibly moving and romantic. Read morePublished on December 2, 2010 by L. Talan
Ethan Hawke pulls off nothing short of a one-man cinematic tour de force in "The Hottest State," a movie he wrote, directed and briefly appears in. Read more
the dvd was in perfect condition and exactly as i expected from the sellers statement. thank you.Published on May 1, 2009 by Nikki
If you have ever screwed up a great relationship you will find this film fascinating..William is YOU/and or me.... Read morePublished on September 8, 2008 by John W. Schlatter
Ethan Hawke is known to the wide audiences as an actor and Uma Thurman's former husband. But Ethan is more than that: he is a writer of the novel and screenplay "The Hottest... Read morePublished on June 30, 2008 by Eugenia
All I got to say about this film is this. Catalina is nude in it and thats all I need to know to view it!Published on May 29, 2008 by Loren