You might initially dismiss this film as a mere ego trip by actor/writer/director Ethan Hawke, but if you stay patient you'll realize that it is more than that. There are moments when you feel that the film has to be autobiographical as the lead character keeps insisting to anyone who'll listen that he's a good actor. It never becomes too annoying, though. Then you might think it is just your typical love story, but again you'll discover it's deeper than that. It's actually hard to watch this love affair as you know it is going to crash and burn.
Just before his 21st birthday, William (Mark Webber – The Boiler Room, Drive Me Crazy), a up and coming actor, falls in love with budding songstress, Sarah (Catalina Sandino Moreno – Maria Full of Grace, Fast Food Nation). Sarah is initially hesitant about their relationship and refuses to sleep with William, but finally consents to traveling to Mexico to be with William as he goes off to make a film. There they finally make love and enjoy the rapture of the new relationship. Once they return to New York all the problems in their relationship start rearing their ugly heads.
William starts pressuring Sarah about their relationship and even marriage causing her to pull away from him. Sarah breaks up with William. He becomes fairly emotionally and mentally unstable, but it causes him to go back to his hometown in Texas to try and work out his issues.
Hawke first wrote a book entitled "The Hottest State" and then he made a film based on it. It's just about what you would expect from him in that it is self-absorbed, talky and trying hard to be artsy. Sometimes you will feel like a priest in a confessional that Ethan Hawke has entered and started unloading his sins onto. There's too much bearing of my soul at certain points and you feel kinda awkward watching it.
What is good about the film is how open it is emotionally. Nothing is held back and it really is true in its depiction of first love with all its crazy emotions. Hawke really manages to capture the feeling of a person's early twenties and how they are still searching for an identity. The story of first love is also tied in to a smaller yet more powerful subplot about the character trying to get back in contact with his father.
One thing that will leap off the screen is the soundtrack. It is perfect for the film with Cat Power, Norah Jones and Feist providing songs.
-Trailers for The Hottest State, In the Shadow of the Moon and The Killing Floor