Two Films in the Flour City (First Up: Dryden Theater Rochester, NY)

First of all, Rochester’s called the Flour City since many flour mills were stationed along the Genesee River back in the day. and then beer was invented (JUST KIDDING). Ironically I was there this past weekend during Lilac Fest, the homonym of flour.

The first film I saw this weekend while spending time with my son (a God among young men: cultured, well read, sweet) was Love Liza written by Gordy Hoffman and starring his brother Philip Seymour Hoffman as part of a PSH tribute series at the Dryden Theater located in the George Eastman House Museum. And may I say, this is the place I’d like my ashes thrown. I LOVE THIS THEATER! I love the the thorough, essay length film introductions, I love the velvetish seats, I love the revelatory way the gold curtain slowly rises before the film starts. I love it all and miss it dearly. If it wasn’t for the 10 months of winter, I’d live there in a heartbeat.

Love Liza was also attended by PSH and Gordy’s mom Marilyn, who I had frozen in her 60’s when I saw her last. Now probably in her early 80’s, she tottered gingerly in a walker, somewhat hunched, but still a cosmopolitan woman (former judge) with a funky pink streak in her snowy white hair. I marveled at her ability to watch Love Liza as it’s the story of a man who begins huffing gas after his wife’s suicide (not a comedy). Given his untimely real life death due to a heroin overdose, I wondered how tough she has to be to watch this film. Yet, I suppose it’s a preservation of his acting gift and his life force.

The movie is a gorgeous piece of film making and great storytelling/character development. I wonder why Gordy focuses more on helping others write screenplays (I’ve taken his class twice and he is a genius for memory and spot on advice). Directed by Todd Louiso, there is some incredible shots using shadows and small details. Besides PSH and Kathy Bates (also simply amazing as his mother-in-law), Sarah Koskoff is heartbreakingly vulnerable as PSH’s manager. An actor who almost steals the show is Jack Kehler, as his socially awkward friend. Love liza is a punch in the gut, mic drop type of film.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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