Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-06-05
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: Hateship Loveship; film notes
by Richard Knight, Jr., for Windy City Times
2014-04-16

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Like Carol Burnett just after she left her long-running TV variety show and wedged herself into a series of characters without a shred of humor, SNL alumna Kristen Wiig may think that dimming down her natural comedic gifts is what's required when playing "serious roles." Wiig has quickly established herself in movies with a batch of characters who are downtrodden at the point we meet them. The funny ones crack cynically about this; the serious ones seem to have barely enough energy to lift their heads off the pillow.

For much of Hateship Loveship—Wiig's new movie, which she also executive-produced—that's just about as much energy as her character, Johanna Perry, exudes. When we first meet Johanna she is preparing to help the elderly woman she's the caregiver for get dressed—when the woman suddenly expires. In a bit of bittersweet lunacy ( which makes for a very funny comic sight gag ), Johanna is determined to get her now- deceased patient into the dress she chose in what turned out to be her last wish. Wiig effortlessly milks the comedy in this inspired moment, which is leavened by the seriousness of the occasion. You're laughing ruefully as Wiig demonstrates her physical acumen at this kind of comedy—the kind of thing she did weekly for seven years on SNL.

But then the plot kicks in, with Johanna heading to her next job as housekeeper for the gravel-voiced Mr. McCauley ( Nick Nolte ), looking after his sullen teenage granddaughter Sabitha ( played by True Grit's Hailee Steinnfeld ). The comedy disappears as the colorless, cautious Johanna integrates herself into the house. In between lots and lots of cleaning—which includes enough floor-scrubbing to give Mommie Dearest a run for her money—Johanna does her awkward best to reach out to Sabitha, whose ne'er-do-well father, Ken ( Guy Pearce ), she briefly met when first arriving.

Ken—a failed dreamer struggling with drug addiction who is trying to get a run-down motel remodeled and who lives in Chicago following the death of his wife, Sabitha's mother—sends Johanna a thank-you note for extending him some kindness when they met. Johanna, whom we suspect at this point must have a pretty active fantasy life, responds with a quasi-love letter. Sabitha's nasty teenage friend intercepts the letter and the two teens enact a mean-spirited prank: They pretend to be Ken and start an email correspondence with the shy but enthusiastic Johanna, who is clearly love-struck ( and with Pearce's good looks, it's easy to see why ). Improbably, Johanna hatches a plan to go to Chicago and present herself to Ken, who she thinks has also fallen madly in love with her.

A series of reversals—many of them genuinely surprising—follows Johanna's impromptu actions. So surprising, in fact, that the last section of the film seems to be a realization of Johanna's fantasies. ( Talk about an improbable romance! ) The result—depending upon whether you are willing to buy into Johanna's motivations—is either an understated wish-fulfillment romance or a completely unrealistic character study.

Out screenwriter Mark Poirer adapted Hateship Loveship from a short story by Alice Munro. It's one of those small character studies where the purchase of a new dress speaks volumes—and, equally, where the color of that dress ( emerald green ) is going to make a big impression on both the audience and the character it is intended to dazzle. The movie is in the tradition of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Georgy Girl, Member of the Wedding, Sterile Cuckoo or even Precious—in which the lonely, plain, background girl improbably gets elevated to star status.

I like that the material subverts audience expectations very subtly—a bank-teller busybody ( expertly played by Christine Lahti ) isn't just a nosy Mrs. Kravitz, the bratty Sabitha isn't just a narcissistic example of the like generation and that Johanna doesn't get emotionally pulverized by the dirty trick played on her ( as the trailer for the movie would have you believe ).

But in rising to the occasion as she reaches out for love ( that some in the audience are going to find improbable )—couldn't Johanna have been given a bit more spark or shown us a bit more personality than this borderline cypher does? Director Liza Johnston elicits some very affecting performances from her talented actors but these are in service to Johanna's rather colorless character whose blossoming, as noted, is a bit hard to fall for—harder still given how familiar we are with Wiig's tremendous capacity to evoke humor in the most benign of situations. It's the film's real misstep.

Hateship Loveship is having its Chicago premiere beginning Friday, April 18, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St. www.siskelfilmcenter.org

Film notes:

—There are only 300 or so days until the next Oscar ceremony—an eternity for award-show junkies. To tide us over, Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies is presenting an encore screening of the fascinating, clip-laden documentary And the Oscar Goes To… from out filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. The film takes viewers on a historical tour of the fabled ceremony, is packed with rarely seen vintage clips ( worth the price of admission alone ), and features new interviews with a bevy of Oscar winners sharing great stories about their one of a kind experiences ( gay icon and veteran of 23 Oscar telecasts Bruce Vilanch is part of the line-up ). The film is screening today, Wed., April 16, at the AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St., at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Visit http://www.fathomevents.com/event/and-the-oscar-goes-to.

—The Northwest Chicago Film Society is back with another interesting screening on 35mm. This time it has unearthed a long-forgotten ( well mostly ) pre-code melodrama set in Chicago ( well, the backlot version of Chicago anyway ) from 1932 titled The Strange Love of Molly Louvain.

Briskly told and covering a lot of ground in its 73-minute running time ( typical for Warner Bros. ), this early film from director Michael Curtiz was a rare starring vehicle for the unsung Ann Dvorak ( pronounced "vore-shack" ), who essayed a batch of very interesting character roles in her all-too-brief career ( my favorite being Three on a Match as the love-struck, drug-addled Vivian in which she co-starred with Bette Davis and Joan Blondell ). Molly Louvain screens at the Patio Theater, 6008 W. Irving Park Rd., on Wed., April 23, at 7 p.m. Christina Rice, author of the recently published Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel, will introduce the screening. The following night the gangster epic Scarface, in which Dvorak plays Edward G. Robinson's ill-fated sister ( probably her most famous role ), is screening at the Pickwick Theater, 5 S. Prospect Ave., Park Ridge, at 7:30 p.m. www.northwestchicagofilmsociety.org


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

'Lavender Scare' screening, panel June 15 2019-06-14 - On Saturday, June 15, at 2 p.m., in honor of Pride month, WTTW and The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events ( ...


Gay News

Matt Bomer meets Papi Chulo 2019-06-11 - There's a little indie movie hitting theaters on June 7 by the name of Papi Chulo that tells a unique story with an ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Celine Dion, GLAAD concert, Marlon Wayans, telenovela plot 2019-06-11 - On June 8, international superstar Celine Dion took the final bow of her 16-year Las Vegas residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, ...


Gay News

'Dyke Delicious' series ends at Filmmakers 2019-06-09 - For 16 years, film editor, professor and LGBTQ activist Sharon Zurek has run an annual Dyke Delicious film series, featuring works by and ...


Gay News

Final Dyke Delicious screening, Stonewall Uprising, June 8 2019-06-05 - The final screening of the Dyke Delicious film series, Stonewall Uprising, will take place June 8 at Chicago Filmmakers, 5720 N. Ridge Ave. ...


Gay News

Laquan McDonald doc '16 Shots' out June 14 2019-06-05 - Showtime Documentary Films announced it will premiere the new documentary 16 Shots, from Oscar-nominated director Richard Rowley ( Dirty Wars ), on Friday, ...


Gay News

MOVIES Siskel showing LGBTQ+ movies 2019-06-05 - The Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St., is showing several LGBTQA+ features throughout Pride Month. Films include: —Sauvage Wild ( June ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jane Fonda, Lee Daniels, Lady Gaga, 'The Babadook' 2019-06-04 - Jane Fonda said she suffered a nervous breakdown during the first season of Grace and Frankie because she felt "triggered" by her character's ...


Gay News

Halston film opens at Music Box on June 7 2019-05-31 - Director Frederic Tcheng's Halston will open Friday, June 7, at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave. The film focuses on the ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Cirque du Soleil, 'Downton Abbey' film, Mathew V, Whitney Houston 2019-05-28 - The producer of Cirque du Soleil and Dan Lin's Rideback have made a deal to develop feature films based on the stories and ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.