Premiere - 01/01/2003
"...LOVE LIZA is a low-key labor of love that strikes a very resonant chord..."
New York Times - 12/30/2002
"...A piercing study of spousal grief..."
Entertainment Weekly - 01/10/2003
"...Hoffman acts the hell out of the role..."
Sight and Sound - 02/01/2003
"...Information is conveyed with deft economy....Louiso introduces a few well-paced flourishes..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 02/07/2003
"...The purpose of a movie like this is to inspire thoughts about human nature....There is a kind of attentive concern that Hoffman brings to his characters..."
Total Film - 08/01/2003
"...Hoffman is superb....Todd Louiso's nuanced direction frequently allows silent action to speak louder than words..."
Wilson Joel's (Philip Seymour Hoffman) wife, Liza, has committed suicide, leaving behind a note that he can't bear to read. He tries to go about his usual routine, but when his coworkers start to worry about his erratic behavior, they convince him to take a leave of absence to deal with his loss. Liza's mother (Kathy Bates) offers support to Wilson, but when she finds out that he won't open the note, their relationship turns sour. Wilson's life becomes even more tragic when he begins sniffing gasoline as a means to dull his pain, explaining his gas consumption as the result of his interest in model airplanes.
A film about grief that provides no easy answers, LOVE LIZA showcases an exceptionally strong lead performance by Hoffman. Wilson's misguided grieving process may be difficult viewing for some, especially during moments which come off as absurdly comic (cued by Jim O'Rourke's superb bossa nova influenced score). But under the direction of first-timer Todd Louiso, this very subtle and deliberately paced work will reward anyone willing to go to the often uncomfortable places it reaches. The strikingly original screenplay by Gordy Hoffman (brother of the film's star) was the winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival.