Hateship, Loveship is a strange movie that wanders often without coming back. It goes slow at times and doesn’t have a clear resolution to it’s characters. Despite the shortcomings of the script, great performances by Wiig and Pearce make this a worthwhile viewing. Synopsis The movie starts with Johanna Perry (Kristen Wiig), an extremely introverted woman, who has worked as a caregiver for most of her life. When the elderly woman she takes care of passes away, Johanna takes a job in a new town working as a housekeeper for an elderly man, Mr. Cauley (Nick Nolte) and taking care of his granddaughter Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld). Sabitha’s father, Ken (Guy Pearce), lives off in Chicago. He has had a life full of alcohol and drugs. A tragic accident involving a boat wreck, driven by a drunken Ken, kills Sabitha’s mother and leaves her in the care of her grandfather. Sabitha isn’t content with her living arrangement. Her and her friend, Edith (Sami Gayle), think that Johanna is weird and don’t really enjoy her presence. They decide to draft up a fake letter written by Ken, Sabitha’s father, to Johanna. In the letter, posing as Ken, they write about how much they enjoyed Johanna’s arrival and think of her as a good friend. When Johanna unexpectedly responds to the letter, Sabitha and Edith start to send more. This results in a long correspondence. Johanna’s dull life starts to become exciting. Reading the letters, she thinks that Ken really likes her. She is feeling things, doing things she normally wouldn’t. She is breaking through her shell. Review Hateship, Loveship is one of those quirky indie dramas that many people will not get. It drags on at times. Thoughout the film, there are several instances that pick at character development but end up getting abandoned. Sabitha is rebellious yet her attitude toward her father seems to change in an instant. Sabitha’s friend, Edith, who is the commander of the fake letter correspondence, drifts off in the middle of the movie not to be seen again til the end. Grandfather Mr. Cauley starts a romance with a local bank employee but no development is ever shown through the film. The indie drama’s tagline on its poster is “Dare to care.” Watching the film, it seems like the script tries to explore the various stages of life of a broken family and caregiver, Johanna, yet it never fully follows through on exploring it. The main attraction to this movie is the performances. Kristen Wiig, in her first leading drama role, captures the viewer as quiet, minimal Johanna Perry. The character has lines but a heavy emphasis is on what happens when Johanna is not talking. A well-known quote comes to mind when watching Johanna throughout the film:
Acting is reacting
Wiig embodies this quote very well in her performance of Johanna. She is subtle and not to over the top. Every one of her eye movements, lip quivers, and hand mannerisms all seem to have a purpose. Wiig breathes life into a very dull character and you can’t keep your eyes off of her.
The concept of a dead beat dad character has been done often. In his role as Ken, Guy Pearce delivers well in providing charm and sensibility into a character that could have easily become a caricature.
Despite Hateship, Loveship not having any huge or clear character development, the performances by the main cast make it worthwhile to see. B
Hateship, Loveship is available on demand at iTunes, Amazon and other online video providers.