Wilson Joel (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a web designer, Wilson Joel’s wife recently committed suicide, Wilson Joel is depressed, Wilson Joel just found a final note left by his wife that he can not muster up the strength to read, Wilson Joel is addicted to sniffing gasoline, Wilson Joel now finds salvation in remote control model planes and takes an aimless state-to-state trip, Wilson Joel finally gets the nerve to … The End.
The previous sentence jumble gives you the gist of the structure of this melancholy film. Aiding Hoffman in this quagmire is Kathy Bates and Jack Kehler. Here is the answer to the only questions that any indie fan may ask: Yes, Hoffman is great as Joel, he is, and will remain, one of the finest actors in movies today. Bates is completely underused and Kehler provides BADLY needed comic relief in a script that is depressing, confusing and redundant.
The character arc of Wilson is almost non-existent (barring a few added subtleties from Hoffman). He sniffs gas, then sniffs and sniffs some more. Sadly, Wilson Joel is drawn as a miserable character who does miserable things in a miserable life. If not for the heart-felt performance from Hoffman, this film would garner a MUCH lower rating.
“Love Liza” is a film that follows the main character everywhere … and nowhere.