Philip Seymour Hoffman is a great actor. I have loved his work ever since his repressed, awkward nurse-man in Boogie Nights. However, this type of awkward and odd guy seems to the only role he plays. What would be a real stretch for Hoffman's magnificent acting abilities would be to play an average, everyday Joe. But somehow, I imagine, that too would come across as eccentric and idiosyncratic. In his latest role in Love Liza, Hoffman plays a troubled and tender widower, attempting to reorient his life in the face of his wife's suicide and the letter she left behind. This role, then, is a bit different, if only because Hoffman appeared at one point to have been an average, everyday man: successful web designer and loving husband. However, the movie doesn't begin until after his wife's death and thus follows his mental breakdown and journey to oddville, which really for Hoffman is just a return to normality.
Gordy Hoffman's script, awarded best screenplay at Sundance 2002, offers little more in terms of plot. Rather I would characterize the developments of the script as taking place in well-defined and highly differentiated moments. Of course, they all flow together into a linear and cohesive story, but everything about the film, from the writing and the direction down to the lighting and music (a nice score by Jim O'Rourke) maintains a kind of individualization of scenes. These key scenes build like motifs defined by their content.
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