what a terribly boring film. I'm sorry but this is absolutely not deserving of best picture and will be forgotten quickly. Entertaining and engaging cinema? No. Nothing performances with flat faces and mistaking silence for subtlety.
It is an exhilarating, distressing, funny and profound film, with one of the more memorable film scores in years,
This film combines the beyond tedious work of a writer who doesn't know how to tell an interesting tale with the visual melange of a director who mistakenly thinks a multiplicity of images multiplies effect. As both the writer and director of The Hottest State, Ethan Hawke proves he should really stick to acting.Though it's gussied up with narration, flashbacks, intertwining scenes and a buttload of montages, the plot of this thing is crudely simplistic. An immature weenie named William Harding (Mark Webber) falls in love with an opaque bitch named Sarah Garcia (Catalina Sandino Morena), she breaks his heart and he spends the rest of the film moping around like a jackass. More specifically, William and Sarah's relationship goes like this
They meet and she won't have sex with him. They move in together and she still won't have sex with him. They take a trip to Mexico and she has sex with him. She says they should get married and then changes her mind after talking with her mother for 20 seconds on the phone. They spend four weeks apart and then she breaks up with him. He mopes around like a jackass and rejects an old girlfriend (played by the very sexy Michelle Williams). His mom shows up to give him all the comfort of hugging a porcupine. He visits his estranged dad and mopes around like a jackass in front of him. After some time goes by, William and Sarah reconnect. William drives from New York City to Texas with his mother and father as teenagers in the backseat.I have no idea why Ethan Hawke thought that story was something anyone needed to experience on the screen. We've all watched it a thousand times before and most of us have lived through it a time or two. The sparse detail added to the narrative only emphasizes how trite it all is.Even Hawke apparently understood how common and uninvolving his story was, because he throws everything but the kitchen sink into telling it. He wantonly violates the "one montage per good movie" rule, includes flashbacks seen from William's point of view as a child, repeatedly tries to make boring and pointless scenes more interesting by splicing them together and throughout the first 3/4ths of the movie, Hawke constantly cuts away to pointless foreshadowing shots of William riding on a train. The soundtrack is also an unceasing stream of one folksy, countryish song after another that seeps into your brain until you feel like beating Willie Nelson to death with a garden hoe. There is a nice bit of nudity in this film but that is more than canceled out by a scene where we watch William urinate into a toilet, yellowy stream and all.Hawke fails to give William or Sarah anything to do or say that is even remotely inviting. When William's mom and dad show up for the final third of the film, they turn out to be a bit engaging. That's largely because of the talent of Laura Linney and Hawke, but also because they're given relatable characteristics. Linney is allowed to play William's mom as a strong but somewhat rigid woman who's made no excuses for her life and won't accept any from others. Hawke plays the dad as someone who regrets the mistakes of his youth but has moved past them. Those little aspects of humanity make them look so much better compared to the whiny loser that is William and the indecipherable Sarah.I hope this story was autobiographical for Hawke and he got something out of making it into a movie. He'd be the only one getting anything out of it. The Hottest State is a boring tale told in an aggravating fashion that has one of those endings where things just peter out. Unless you're in the midst of getting your heart broken for the first time and want to see someone handle it even worse than you, don't bother watching this film.
I would put this in the same category as "London", with Jessica Biel. It will graphically and painfully remind most people of someone they loved and lost. It's the kind of movie to watch when you are already feeling down due to a break-up, or when you kind of want to feel that way or remember a girl / guy you who you once loved. This is also a pretty good coming-of-age story. Laura Linney, playing the lead's mother, delivers advice I will never forget about people begging you to be weak but really wanting you to be strong. Still, the love story and heartbreak is the most powerful thing in it, to me. I look forward to more movies from Ethan Hawke.
I saw this film at the LA Film Festival and found it to be a boring talk-fest between two largely unsympathetic, unconvincing characters. If Hawke was trying to channel Linkletter's Before Sunrise/Sunset, he should have also created characters whose motivations and reactions are at least somewhat plausible, even if they happen to be 20 year olds. On the other hand, the character portrayed by Laura Linney (the mother of male lead) is refreshing in her contribution of realism to the story. Otherwise, if you like lots of self-involved rambling about nothing much, punctuated by music videos and a few moments of soft-core porn, this is your movie.
I saw this film in Venice on Saturday 2 September. I absolutely loved it! I haven't read the book , so cannot comment on how faithful the film is, however I really enjoyed it, and it was certainly the best I saw in Venice.The story made me really emotional. I could see myself or my friends at 20 years old and recognised a lot of emotional patterns that are typical of growing up. The actors are all amazing. The two main characters have got a freshness and grace about them that make them beautiful to watch. Laura Linney and Ethan Hawke play the parents wonderfully.It is a very sexy and raw film, but delicate at the same time. For anyone who has ever fallen in love and had his heart broken for the very first time. It made me cry a lot and I thank Ethan Hawke for it!