Love Liza

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Love Liza
Love liza.jpg
Movie poster
Directed by Todd Louiso
Produced by Ruth Charny
Chris Hanley
Corky O'Hara
Jeffrey Roda
Fernando Sulichin
Written by Gordy Hoffman
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman
Kathy Bates
Music by Jim O'Rourke
Cinematography Lisa Rinzler
Edited by Ann Stein
Distributed by Columbia TriStar, Sony Pictures Classics
Release date
  • January 14, 2002 (2002-01-14)
Running time
90 minutes
Country France
United States
Language English

Love Liza is a 2002 American comedy-drama film directed by Todd Louiso and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Jack Kehler, Wayne Duvall, Sarah Koskoff and Stephen Tobolowsky.

Plot summary[edit]

Wilson Joel's (Philip Seymour Hoffman) wife Liza (Annie Morgan) has, for an unexplained reason, committed suicide. Wilson one night discovers a sealed letter from his wife, which he believes to be her suicide note. In his grief-stricken state and with the added stress of finding the letter, which he cannot bring himself to open and read, he forms an addiction to inhaling gasoline fumes (“huffing”).

In order to hide his addiction from a work colleague, he informs her that the petrol smell in his house is from his hobby of flying remote controlled planes. To try to engage an ever-distant Wilson, she asks her brother-in-law, Denny (Jack Kehler), a radio control (RC) hobbyist, to visit Wilson. With the knowledge of an impending visit from Denny, Wilson heads down to the local RC hobbyist shop to buy himself a plane. He also stocks up on some RC fuel to fill his plane and feed his addiction. Out of this lie, a very unusual friendship forms between Wilson and an energetic Denny.

His mother-in-law (Kathy Bates) tries her best to help Wilson and deal with her own loss at the same time. She becomes increasingly anxious to know the contents of the letter.


In Order Of Appearance

Actor Character
Philip Seymour Hoffman Wilson Joel
J.D. Walsh Bern
Jimmy Raskin Pad
Kathy Bates Mary Ann Bankhead
Erika Alexander Brenda
Sarah Koskoff Maura
Mark Hannibal Waiter with Drink
Jim Wise Bland Man
Trace Turville Bland Woman
Wayne Duvall Gas Station
Stephen Tobolowsky Tom Bailey
Kevin Breznahan Jim
Jennifer Keddy Lynne
David Lenthal Hobbytown USA Clerk
Jack Kehler Denny
Pauline Boyd Zoo
Ernest Perry Jr Trucker
Cullen Douglas Cashier at Pancake House
Joanne Pankow Grandma Clerk
Dan Klass (as Dan Klaas) Officer Escort
Chris Ellis Patriot Model Aeronautics Clerk
George Mills Pickup Truck Driver
Julia Lashae Breakfast Woman
Don Hood Good Morning Man
John McConnell High School Principal #1
Terry Loughlin High School Principal #2
Maggie Valentine Girl on Front Porch
Teegan Eley Jenn
Morgan Jarrett Stacy
Daniel Farber Huffer Boy
Kelli Garner Huffer Girl
Shannon Holt Angela Ryan from Bailey Federation
Ann Morgan Liza


Much of the film was shot in Mobile, Alabama.


Jordan Hoffman of Vanity Fair noted the way the film "tackled depression and substance abuse in a dark-as-hell comedy that takes on an additional layer of sadness [after Hoffman's death]".[1] Rex Reed of the New York Observer praised Hoffman's performance, believing that it could have the same kind of impact on his career as Leaving Las Vegas had for Nicolas Cage. However, A. O. Scott of The New York Times stated that Hoffman's "omnipresence is something of a mixed blessing", given that the protagonist is "more a state of feeling than a character".[2]

Love Liza was released in a small number of movie theaters and earned $210,000.[2]


  1. ^ "Philip Seymour Hoffman's Movie Career: A Streak of Genius, Stopped Too Soon". Vanity Fair. February 2, 2014. Retrieved February 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Pomerance, Murray (October 19, 2011). Shining in Shadows: Movie Stars of the 2000s. Rutgers University Press. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-8135-5216-3. 

External links[edit]