Sunday, January 15, 2012

Love, Liza

Philip Seymour Hoffman is not someone I would normally think of as a depressed person. He is perhaps best known for his goofy, funny and over-the-top roles in several films during the 90's and 00's. With this image in mind I was kind of surprised to see him as a suicidal, depressed man in 'Love, Liza'.

Love Liza begins with Hoffman as Wilson returning to his home after attending his wife's funeral. The viewer can only guess that something tragic has happened here. The film has long spells when there are no dialogues, only a sense of despair, gloom and failure which hangs about the house and everything Wilson does. Eventually Wilson steps out of the house and goes to work. We come to know that he is a computer graphic designer of some sort. This is when a reporter calls Wilson at his desk and after a quick, insincere condolence asks him whether the paper should report his wife's demise as a death or suicide. And this is the crux of the film. Wilson's wife has committed suicide, and in a rather violent manner. A car in Wilson's garage has a blocked exhaust pipe so appaently Wilson's wife choked herself to death.

The film progresses with Wilson's attempts to come to terms with his wife's death. One can guess that everything in the house reminds Wilson of her and the life they shared until she was  suddenly gone. Wilson cannot bring himself to sleep in the bedroom and so he sprawls near a wall in what looks like the living room. One night he needs a pillow and he picks one up from the bedroom. And that is when he discovers a letter from his dead wife. The letter is addressed simply  as 'Wilson'. This is the tipping point for Wilson. He is utterly devastated and hysterical. To ease his sufferring he tries to get high by sniffing gasoline. He cannot bring himself to open up the letter and at the same time he just cannot forget it either.

In the final minutes of the film, when Wilson finally opens up the letter it reads something lilke -

"I probably left a big mess, didn't I? I need you to carry me in your heart. Find another.

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