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Hateship Loveship 2013 ***

The full title of Alice Munro’s short story is Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, and that provides a useful guide to the contents of Lisa Johnson’s drama, which manages to capture the nuances of Munro’s prose. Kristen Wiig plays down her comic abilities and plays up her downtrodden side as Johanna Parry, introduced on her final day as carer to an elderly lady. Johanna gets on a bus and starts a new job, taking care of a teenage girl Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld) whose mother has been killed in a speedboat accident. Sabitha has two paternal figures, her largely absent coke-head father Ken (Guy Pearce) and her mother’s dad, played by Nick Nolte. When Sabitha allows a school friend to make mischief between Johanna and Ken by faking an email correspondence that raises Johanna’s hopes of a relationship, the family gets pulled in unexpected directions when a tentative romance blooms between Johanna and Ken. Hateship Loveship is a decidedly low-key drama, well played and managing to dodge contrivance at every stage; Wiig does a good job of suggesting Johanna’s dogged determination, using cleaning and caring as a way of working her way into a substance abuser’s heart.


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