- RatedM18 /GenreDrama
‘Hateship Loveship’ feels as though a potentially great plot was tossed at filmmakers who had no idea what to do with it.
The film’s title is an accurate foreshadowing of how you will feel while watching the movie. During its very slow progression, you will probably be more preoccupied with deciding whether to love or hate it.
By the time the credits start rolling, ‘Hateship Loveship’ comes across as exceedingly straightforward and offers nothing more than what you see in the trailer.
Directed by Liza Johnson, the film is based on a short story by Alice Munro, and centres on Johanna Perry (Kristen Wiig), a plain and quiet housekeeper who begins working for one Mr McCauley (Nick Nolte), an elderly man who lives with his teenage granddaughter, Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld).
Johanna briefly meets Sabitha’s father, Ken (Guy Pearce), who lives in Chicago and has a strained relationship with Mr McCauley.
For their own amusement, Sabitha and her best friend begin forging romantic letters and emails, addressed from Ken to Johanna, who starts to fall in love with him. When Johanna arrives at Ken’s doorstep and learns the truth about their “correspondence”, her life begins to head in an unexpected direction.
The basic plot of ‘Hateship Loveship’ seems interesting on the surface, but the movie has somehow managed to use potentially great ideas as a foundation and build nothing with them.
With this film, what you get is what you get. Watch if you have 100 minutes to spare and some level of curiosity for what happens to the characters.
They seem haunted by internal struggles and look like they have an interesting backstory to tell, but we are denied such character developments.
The only selling point is its cast’s performance, Wiig’s in particular.
She is splendid as the quiet protagonist, naturally capturing Johanna’s emotions and turning the character into an endearingly odd, and occasionally humorous, figure.
While the rest of the cast does not shine as much, they deliver the same natural and believable performances that keep the film alive.
As expected of Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld, she easily morphs into a conflicted and rebellious teenager. Nolte and Pearce have their moments of humour that add some spark to the dull plot.
With their commendable performances, the cast members have done the film a huge favour by making their characters more likeable than they deserve to be.
Perhaps it is easier to conclude that, despite its title, ‘Hateship Loveship’ is not deserving of either our love or hate.
'Loveship Hateship' opens in cinemas 24 July 2014