Starring: Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Nick Nolte, Hailee Steinfeld, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sami Gayle, Christine Lahti
Directed by: Liza Johnson
Synopsis: A wild teenage girl orchestrates a romance between her nanny and her father, who is a recovering addict.
Kristen Wiig should be commended for breaking out of her trademark comedic roles in hits such as “Bridesmaids” and trying her hand at smaller, more serious roles, such as this. She does a good job too, although the film itself doesn’t quite do her justice.
Wiig plays a quiet, reserved loner called Johanna, who has been sheltered from life by the old lady she has cared for. When the old lady dies she is finds a job caring for a teenage girl called Sabitha (Steinfeld), who lives with her Grandad (Nolte). Her father Ken, played fantastically against type by Guy Pearce, is a recovering drug abuser, and is living at a run down motel which he aims to renovate. Sabitha and her bitchy friend decide to start a correspondence of letters to Johanna, pretending to be Ken. Johanna falls in love without knowing the guy and pitches up at his motel expecting a warm welcome. Of course, Ken knows nothing of the correspondence, but takes pity on Johanna anyway, and their relationship blossoms from there.
The film is sweet but slight. Despite some fairly big issues, such as loneliness, depression, abandonment and drug abuse, the film still felt slightly unemotional at times. This can’t be blamed on the actors who all give great performances, particularly Wiig, but maybe on the director for not giving us enough dramatic pay off. There are some key moments that should have bought about bigger conflict, but because Wiig’s character is so shy, she backs away from any conflict, thus giving the audience none.
Hateship Loveship is a solid indie movie, with a stellar cast and some nice moments, but unfortunately not quite enough to hit the heights of other, similar pictures,