The storyline of 'Hateship Loveship' does not feel particularly revelatory or original on the surface but by the time the credits roll it proves itself to be something of great worth.
Kristen Wiig plays Johanna, a carer starting a new job looking after Nick Nolte and his rebellious granddaughter Sabitha. Wiig is devastating to watch. Her character has lead a sheltered life and looks on the verge of tears a lot of the time. She is very gentle and tentative, and able to express a multitude of emotions just from a tilt of the head or twitch of the mouth.
Her casting in this film could have fallen quite easily into the 'comedy actress trying to be serious in a movie' camp, but it rises above that in favour of something far more truthful.
Johanna's introversion is challenged when after falling victim to a prank she is paired together with Sabitha's recovering addict father Ken played by Guy Pearce. The combination of her complete innocence with his world weary, compulsive behaviour make for some fantastic moments of mundane realism, and bittersweet comedy.
The film contains themes of love across three generations, loss, and family responsibility, and although they are all sentimental ideas due to the high quality of acting and direction involved it never becomes mawkish about it. Uplifting without being preachy. I never felt like I was being told what to feel, but just being allowed to witness a set of very relatable, charming characters negotiating the situations they find themselves in.
Days later Kristen Wiig's performance is still lingering in my mind.