Hateship Loveship is an incredible name for a movie. I barely care what they film’s about. I just want to embrace that title, imagining it on a poster somewhere. So much more of an eyecatcher than, say, Winter’s Tale, Grudge Match or Her (as terrific as that last movie actually ended up being). How is the trailer for Hateship Loveship, though? It just dropped, via IFC’s official YouTube page, so check it out above, and then we’ll discuss.
Loveship adapts a Pulitzer Prize-winning short story by Alice Munro, the Canadian author behind "The Love of a Good Woman," "The View from Castle Rock" and "Dear Life," the latter published in 2012. This particular story casts Kristen Wiig in a departure role. In other words, the usually hilarious Bridesmaids and Saturday Night Live star will play it straight and serious opposite Guy Pearce, Hailee Steinfeld and the legendary Nick Nolte. Here’s a synopsis, recently released by IFC:
In her first dramatic role, Kristen Wiig gives "a beautifully restrained performance" (The Hollywood Reporter) as Johanna, a profoundly shy, shabby housekeeper hired to care for Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte) and his granddaughter Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld). Despite her outgoing nature, Sabitha carries wounds from the death of her mother years before, while her father (Guy Pearce) is a hapless recovering drug addict with a certain ragged charm.
In an act of mean-spirited rebellion, Sabitha fosters a pseudo-relationship between Johanna and her father through a series of forged emails, never dreaming of the potential harm. However, Johanna is not a demure cut-out, but rather a woman for whom the phrase ‘still waters run deep’ could have been coined, and the young girl's cruel prank provokes Johanna to indulge in something long missing from her life: the dream of a future and a home of her own."
How is there already a critic quote for Loveship? Well, the drama – directed by Liza Johnson – held its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, and generated modest reviews. It currently sits at 57% on Rotten Tomatoes, yet only with seven reviews filed. The cast alone makes Loveship worthy of a trip to the cinema, if only to see if Wiig has the chops to construct a career outside of the usual comedies that have defined her to this point.
If she is able to make that leap, she would join the long line of actors who started out in comedy but transitioned to dramas, from Robin Williams to Jim Carrey and everyone in between. What do you think? Does Wiig have a chance at expanding her range? Or do you only want to see her in silly features like Anchorman 2?