I'm not unsympathetic to the plights of actors. And, I can understand when
an actor who has gotten good reviews for all his supporting roles is able to
promote a project with him as a leading man. I can even sympathize when it's
the actor's brother (Gordy) who writes the screenplay. So, I have nothing
against "Love Liza".
Perhaps the problem I had with this film is that Philip Seymour Hoffman
("Boogie Nights", "The Talented Mr. Ripley") doesn't muster up the engaging
sympathy of a leading man for me. True, his comedic tendencies which, so
often come as forced, are here suppressed by the ultra serious subject of
dealing with the loss of a wife who committed suicide.
Wilson Joel (Hoffman) built his life around her. He is a man whose sanity
seems to have been totally dependent on her. With her gone, he is without
anchor or meaning, despite the fact that he's an in-demand web designer. His
attempts to deal with his loss lead him to extreme depression bordering on
insanity and incoherence, to ill-adopting the hobby of model airplanes, to
sniffing gasoline, to a rejection of all those who seem to be trying to
Hoffman indeed seems to be plumbing the deepest recesses of his acting skills
in the service of this paeon to dysfunctional escape from mourning. Without a
little relief from the emotional badgering of it all, it left me with the
same feeling of wanting to escape.
~~ Jules Brenner