Hateship Loveship

Rated 3.0

Hateship Loveship is a strange movie. Due to it's crazy subject matter, it's just a hair away from being a terrible film during its entire running time, and yet, thanks to some great performances and solid direction by Liza Johnson, the people behind this one pull off an impressive high wire act. In one of her best performances to date, Kristen Wiig plays Johanna Perry, a lonely caregiver who winds up working for Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte), an older gentleman taking care of his granddaughter Sabitha (Hailee Stetnfeld) after her mother has died. Sabitha doesn't like having Johanna around, so she and a friend (Sami Gayle) tease her in a very peculiar way. They pretend to be Sabitha's addict father, Ken (Guy Pearce) and write love letters to a completely convinced Johanna. In fact, Johanna is so convinced that Ken loves her, she moves into his abandoned hotel without him even knowing. How this incredibly awkward situation is handled is what makes this a very good, heartwarming movie instead of an ugly, unbearably uncomfortable one. Much credit goes to Johnson and screenwriter Mark Poirier (who also wrote Goats and Smart People) for finding sweetness in what could've been a very sour affair. Wiig, who has taken some great risks since leaving Saturday Night Live, is showing that she's an actress willing to gamble rather than follow the typical post-SNL route. (Available for rent on iTunes, Amazon.com and VOD during a limited theatrical run.)