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Love Liza 2002


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).

Philip Seymour Hoffman, J.D. Walsh
1 hour, 29 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Comedy
Director Todd Louiso
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, J.D. Walsh
Supporting actors Jimmy Raskin, Kathy Bates, Erika Alexander, Sarah Koskoff, Mark Hannibal, Jim Wise, Trace Turville, Wayne Duvall, Stephen Tobolowsky, Kevin Breznahan, Jennifer Keddy, David Lenthall, Jack Kehler, Pauline Boyd, Ernest Perry Jr., Cullen Douglas, Joanne Pankow, Dan Klass
Studio Sony Pictures Classics
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I'm not sure how or why the other two reviewers missed the point of the movie. Hoffman is simply brilliant as Wilson, a young man trying to cope with everyday life after his wife kills herself less than 3 weeks earlier. She left a note, which Philip Seymour Hoffman finds but struggles to work up the courage to open and read. His newfound addiction to 'huffing' gas only adds to his inability to handle work, his friends, or doing anything other than getting high. If you like Philip Seymour Hoffman in his other depressing work (Happiness), you'll see that he's become a master of the role.
Yes, there are moments of uncomfortable laughter, but that doens't make Love Liza a comedy. Its not. Its a very depressing, yet wonderfully acted, film. The dialog was natural -- which is to say that it was simple, confused, and sometimes directionless -- exactly how you would expect an addicted, young man coping with the suicide of his wife would be.
Kathy Bates is excellent as the mother of the deceased, trying to cope with her loss as well. She battles with Hoffman, trying to be supportive, yet urging him to open the letter, hoping to find some answers to why her daugter killed herself.
This is a brilliant film, with Philip Seymour Hoffman at his absolute best. But if anyone suggests that this is a "dark comedy" - beware. There is no comedy here. Unless you think coping with the loss of your wife is funny.
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Format: DVD
Philip Seymour Hoffman has made a career out of playing deeply depressed characters. In "Love Liza," he has found what might well be his most perfectly suited role to date, that of a young man trying to come to terms with the suicide of his wife.
Written by Gordy Hoffman and directed by Todd Louiso, "Love Liza" is a searing study of grief, one that chronicles the many stages a man goes through in coping with this type of tragedy. Wilson first finds himself unable to sleep in the same bed he used to share with his wife. Then he returns to the place where they spent their honeymoon in a vain attempt to find some solace or answers there. Then there's the turn towards self-destruction as he seeks escape from his pain by inhaling mass quantities of gasoline. All along the way, well-meaning friends, colleagues and family members proffer what they can in the way of support and sympathy but, invariably, they find themselves ill-equipped to deal with grief at this level of intensity. This is even the case with Mary Ann, Wilson's understanding mother-in-law, who is having to cope with her son-in-law's dysfunction while also dealing with her own grief at the loss of her daughter.
The title of the film comes from a signed suicide note Liza left to Wilson under his pillow. That letter, which Wilson cannot bring himself to open, only adds to the man's despair, for he fears it may reveal that he was somehow responsible for his wife's actions. Thus, wracked with guilt as well as grief, Wilson slides ever further into that deep dark hole of despair. The filmmakers, in an effort to mitigate some of the misery inherent in the subject matter, invest the story with a number of sly, quirky touches, such as Wilson's sudden obsession with mechanized toy airplanes.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film broke my heart. I bought it because it stars the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and because it was filmed here in Mobile.

It broke my heart because Hoffman was just so good and so good at portraying gut-wrenching, fall-to-your knees grief.

Although there are comedic scenes in this film, this is not a comedy - dark or otherwise. Hoffman's turn as the widower of a suicide wife is so spot-on. For anyone who has experienced huge loss, especially huge unexplained loss, his portrayal reflects the madness that one goes through. He shows us and allows us to feel the depths of his pain and his futility in trying to make sense of the loss.

There are no neat tying-up-loose-ends to this film. We are left to wonder what became of his character. Did he come to terms with his loss or did he completely succumb to the grief and continue on his self-destructive path? What the film DOES have is an honest snapshot of someone in the deep hole that a huge loss can cause. We've likely all been there; not everyone is able to climb out.

It broke my heart because I have imagined his friends and family going through those same emotions these past weeks. It broke my heart because we won't have any more such performances from him.
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Format: DVD
Love Liza is a cinematic masterpiece that takes us into the lonely world of a man consumed with guilt over the suicide of his wife. Phillip Seymour Hoffman gives a stunning and brilliant performance as Wilson. Not long into the movie we find that Wilson's wife Liza left him a suicide note that he cannot bring himself to read. Constantly hounded by his mother-in-law, played to perfection by Kathy Bates, he searches for any kind of release and finds it in an odd form, huffing gasoline fumes. Penned by Hoffman's brother Gordy, this film places us in a position most of us can relate with, the loss of a loved one. Phillip Seymour Hoffman delivers an Oscar calliber performance in a role that seems tailor made for him. Hoffman is strikingly believable and a pleasure to watch. He delivers every emotion and movement in just the right places and with great percision. He is truly one of the greatest actors that Hollywood houses today. I recommend this film to anyone who is a fan of excellent films and actors. Carried by a terrific screenplay and brilliant performances by both Hoffman and Kathy Bates, Love Liza can't miss.
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