Hateship Loveship 

click to enlarge hateshiploveship.jpg

Alice Munro, the Canadian short-story master who last year won the Nobel Prize for literature, isn't an easy fit for the movies. Much of what makes her writing exquisite is its deep interiority. Even when her taciturn characters exchange words - and they sometimes exchange impossible words - what you read could be a conversation you've never managed to have with yourself.

So Liza Johnson's Hateship Loveship, adapted by Mark Jude Poirier from one of Munro's stories, feels necessarily light on dialogue. It's quieter even than the festival-ready strain of indie drama so vogue a decade and a half ago, when everything arty at Blockbuster felt a little Canadian. That works well for Kristen Wiig, affecting yet all but silent for long stretches as a simple woman tricked into getting a version of the life she secretly craves. That involves Guy Pearce, Hailee Steinfeld, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Christine Lahti and Nick Nolte, all of whom turn up in their Sundance best, serving the material fine. Still, the best performance here is its loudest: 18-year-old Sami Gayle, onscreen briefly as the story's only bigmouth, a mean girl with the very Munro name Edith.

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