The Hottest State


Ethan Hawke got a good deal of critical razzing with the publication of his novel The Hottest State in 1997. I never read the book, but I’ve long felt he’s an underrated actor, so I was quietly rooting for his 2006 film adaptation. Unfortunately, besides a great soundtrack and a fetching performance from Catalina Sandino Moreno, The Hottest State is an overlong, self-serious dud. Hawke wrote and directed the story of William (Mark Webber), a repulsive 20-year-old New York actor with big-time daddy issues. He falls madly in love with Sarah (Moreno), a lovely but emotionally stunted musician; quickly, their passionate affair falls to pieces. The characters never feel lived-in enough to care about, and the already repellent William is not helped by Webber’s wan performance.