Newest Reviews
True Don Quixote, The
Mitchells vs. the Machines, The
Dora and the Lost City of Gold
Unholy, The
How to Deter a Robber
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
  Love Liza Left Behind
Year: 2002
Director: Todd Louiso
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Sarah Koskoff, Jack Kehler, Stephen Tobolowsky, Shannon Holt, Erika Alexander, J.D. Walsh, Wayne Duvall
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Wilson Joel (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a website designer who has suffered a sudden bereavement when his wife, Liza, commits suicide. Unable to function through his repressed grief, Wilson begins to behave erratically, and is asked to take a holiday from work to recuperate. He goes to the beach where his honeymoon took place, and on the way back to the airport he is struck by the smell of gasoline coming from a taxi. Now he has something to replace his lost love: he is addicted to the smell of gasoline fumes...

Whenever a person tells you that someone close to them has died, you always say, "I'm sorry" and try to sympathise. But Love Liza features as its central character a man so messed up with sorrow that he pushes everyone away; not consciously, but through his self-absorption. Written by Hoffman's brother Gordy Hoffman, this film is a showcase for the actor's estimable talent, and he embraces the eccentric and tragic figure of Wilson, creating a man who has become detatched from the world, and only giving out random clues as to what is going on in his head.

When hanging around gas stations isn't enough, Wilson buys a canister, fills it up and enjoys the great smell of petrol in the privacy of his own home. Meanwhile, everyone around him is trying to make things as easy as possible, being kind and tolerant of his difficult behaviour. When his co-worker Maura (Sarah Koskoff) arrives at his doorstep, Wilson explains away the fumes as the fuel for his model aeroplane, and then has to go out and buy a model plane to cover his addiction. But he finds that the smell of the plane fuel is just as satisfying, and starts sniffing that as well.

Wilson feels unbearable guilt, believing he has let his wife down: "I think I did something" he tells a trucker who isn't listening. When Maura takes him to the zoo and tells him that she is attracted to him, he is filled with dread and runs away, unable to accept love any more. Then the film goes into a road movie, with Wilson driving aimlessly until, through a series of incidents, he ends up at a model boat racing competition, which he disrupts by taking a swim halfway through a race. Despite the tragedy, there are more than a few laughs to be had as long as you don't feel too uncomfortable.

We don't know what Wilson was like before the suicide, so Love Liza is in many ways an alienating experience. If you offer someone sympathy you expect at least a little thanks, but Wilson is beyond that, we never even see him crying until the end. He has a rival in his grief in the shape of Mary Ann (Kathy Bates), his mother-in-law. Connected in their loss, Mary Ann wants Wilson to open a suicide note that Liza has left him, but Wilson can never find the right time. The whole film leads up to the reading of the letter, but we're not sure that this act will have the necessary catharsis. For all its quirkiness, Love Liza is a small, sad film, which leaves a poignant feeling, ironically because of its largely unsentimental approach. Music by Jim O'Rourke.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 5775 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: