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"LOVE LIZA"
(2002) (Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kathy Bates) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Extreme Minor Heavy Minor Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy None None None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Extreme Heavy Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A man tries to cope with his wife's suicide and the final note that she left him.
PLOT:
Wilson Joel (PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN) is a software engineer whose wife, Liza, has just committed suicide. Understandably shocked and grieving, Wilson is just trying to get by and even news from his co-worker, Maura Haas (SARAH KOSKOFF), that a businessman, Tom Bailey (STEVEN TOBOLOWSKY), likes his work is of no comfort.

He eventually turns to inhaling gasoline fumes as a way of escaping, but must explain the smell to Maura by lying that it's from his work with remote controlled model airplanes. That ultimately leads to him meeting Denny (JACK KEHLER), an odd sort and model hobbyist who soon befriends the grieving and increasingly high widower.

Wilson's addiction to such fumes means that he can temporarily forget about his mixed urge and reluctance to open what's presumably Liza's suicide note to him. Her mother, Mary Ann Bankhead (KATHY BATES), doesn't want to read it either and it eventually becomes a tattered reminder of what once was. As Wilson's addiction grows more incessant, he tries to come to grips with what's occurred and eventually summon the courage to open that letter.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of someone in the cast, it's not very likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For drug use, language and brief nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN plays a software engineer who's trying to cope with his wife's recent suicide. Depressed and grieving, he turns to sniffing gasoline fumes and hanging out with Denny. He also drinks and uses strong profanity.
  • KATHY BATES plays Wilson's mother-in-law who's similarly grieving and in shock over Liza's suicide. She uses some profanity.
  • JACK KEHLER plays an odd fellow who befriends Wilson due to his belief that Wilson is as big a fan of radio-controlled models as he is. He uses strong profanity and drinks while driving.
  • SARAH KOSKOFF plays Wilson's co-worker who informs him of her feelings for him a bit too close to his wife's recent suicide.
  • STEVEN TOBOLOWSKY plays a businessman who wants to work with Wilson and is willing to give him time to cope with his loss.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 26 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. A fully nude woman is briefly seen (from a sideways and rear view) in a nonsexual context. Some imitative behavior is present including several characters who sniff and get high from gasoline and other fuel fumes (they're addicted to that).

    A man and his mother-in-law deal with the suicide of his wife (her daughter) which occurs before the story begins, and related tense family material is present throughout the film. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while some drink (one while driving) and a few miscellaneous ones smoke.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Wilson has a drink and then finishes it or has another with a man and woman who also have drinks.
  • Wilson becomes addicted to sniffing gasoline or other fuel fumes and does so at least 8 times.
  • At times and during such moments, we see a distorted view of him representing his reaction to getting high, as well as views of him looking quite high and/or being passed out from doing so. He also sniffs the fumes (from a cloth) while driving and he then later gives some gasoline and fuel to two teens who are addicted to the fumes just like he is (although he asks why they don't just get drunk - they respond that they don't like to).
  • Denny states that his wife always takes the bottle opener from him to prevent him from drinking and driving. After he asks Wilson to get his, we see both of them drinking in Denny's vehicle as he drives.
  • Denny and Wilson drink beer.
  • We see a beer bottle in a hotel room.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Wilson gets a minor nosebleed from sniffing too many fumes.
  • Denny announces that he has to "take a mean sh*t" and states that he gets all backed up while camping.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Wilson tells various white lies about various things (running out of gas, how he's done playing basketball, that he has model airplanes, etc.).
  • Maura tells Wilson that she's attracted to him (just days after his wife has committed suicide).
  • We hear that a person stole Wilson's model plane from his car.
  • Wilson gets belligerent about a restaurant worker not allowing him to see their copy of the phone book. Once the man does, Wilson yells at him and rips a page from it.
  • Wilson discovers that someone has completely cleaned his place out (taken all of his belongings).
  • Wilson is mean to Denny and snaps at him.
  • Wilson gives some gasoline and then some other fuel to two fume-addicted kids so that they can sniff the fumes.
  • Wilson tries to break into Mary Ann's place and then later does so.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Wilson accidentally sets fire to his house (only briefly seen as it spreads).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • We see some toy guns in a store.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ckers," "F*cked up," "F*ck that," "What the f*ck are you doing?" "F*ck you," "Full of bullsh*t," "I don't give a sh*t," "Scares the sh*t out of me," "Jack sh*t," "That is kick ass," "Who the hell /told you to do that/wants to know?" "Pissing people off," "I'm an idiot" and "What the hell are you doing?"
  • Although we don't see the actual act, Liza committed suicide by blocking the tailpipe of her running car in the garage, thus asphyxiating herself.
  • Wilson sniffs gasoline and other fuel fumes to get high (as do two teens).
  • Denny drinks and drives.
  • Wilson burns a piece of paper with a lit match (and ends up catching his place on fire).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 26 "f" words, 10 "s" words, 5 hells, 3 asses, 1 damn, 10 uses of "God," 2 of "Jesus Christ" and 1 use each of "G-damn," "Jesus," "My God," "Oh Lord" and "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Wilson images seeing his late wife standing fully nude in the bathroom. We see her from the side and thus see the side of her bare breast, butt and a glimpse of her pubic hair. Moments later, she turns and walks away from the camera, showing a full rear view.
  • We see Wilson in his boxers.
  • SMOKING
  • Several miscellaneous people smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Wilson's wife has recently committed suicide before the story begins, so when we first see him, he's still somewhat shell-shocked and grieving over that. That loss and grief continues for most of the film.
  • Wilson has some tense moments with his mother-in-law who's similarly grieving over the loss of her daughter.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Suicide.
  • Dealing with the loss of a loved one (grief, guilt, etc.).
  • Sniffing gas fumes and becoming addicted to that.
  • Why Wilson was reluctant to open the suicide note from his wife.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Wilson breaks a window to gain entry to a basement.
  • Wilson accidentally sets fire to his house (only briefly seen as it spreads).



  • Reviewed January 31, 2003 / Posted February 7, 2003

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