Tribeca Film Festival 2011: “Love Hate Love”

Sean Penn (right), producer of "Love Hate Love," with Tribeca Film Festival founder Robert De Niro.

It is impossible not to be moved, by the documentary “Love Hate Love.” The film profiles three subjects who have experienced unimaginable tragedies and have responded by giving to others.

Liz and Steve Alderman lost their son Peter on 9/11.  Having experienced the mental anguish of such a loss, they decided to use the one and a half million dollars, offered to them by the Victims Compensation Fund, to start the Peter C. Alderman Foundation.  The Foundation sets up mental health clinics in war torn countries to help the victims of war, torture, terrorism and genocide.  We follow Liz and Steve as they set up their sixth clinic, in Uganda.

Esther Hyman lost her sister, Miriam, on July 7, 2005 when a suicide bomber boarded a bus on which Miriam was riding, in London.  Miriam was an artist whose talents were almost not developed due to vision problems.  Esther and her family have established the Miriam Hyman Children’s Eye Care Center, in Bhubaneswar, India, with the goal of eradicating preventable blindness.

Ben Tullipan, an Australian, was in Bali when a terrorist’s one ton car bomb blew up just 10 feet away from him.  Ben lost both of his legs.  Today he is walking with two prosthetic legs and has devoted himself toward helping amputees.  He gives them counseling and runs a golf club for amputees.

I left the “Love Hate Love” with nothing but admiration for its subjects.  These are all great people with compelling stories.  At the same time though, the critic in me has an issue.   The film has no third act, which is something an audience needs in order to feel satisfied.

In a movie we see the characters going about their normal lives (the first act), but then something happens that spins the story around in another direction (the second act) and then, later, there needs to be a crises at the end of the second act that spins the story into the third act. Today this is even true for documentaries, which more and more, are adopting narrative story telling structure.

In “Love Hate Love” we certainly see the events that spun the characters’ lives into their second acts.  We then see the wonderful things they accomplish, in response to these changes in their lives.  For some viewers this may be enough.  To me though, the stories felt as if something else was needed.  For example, at the film’s end, we are told that Liz and Steve are about to open their eleventh mental health clinic. Was it that easy? I am sure that there must have been hurdles to overcome in opening mental health clinics in war torn countries.  It would have been interesting to see how these two courageous people dealt with these hurdles.  In fact the Alderman’s story is the most compelling of the three.  Liz has such a great presence on camera that there could have been an entire film on just her and Steve’s story.

“Love Hate Love” is inspiring and well worth seeing.  However, once the stories were set up, I needed them to go further than they did.


About unpaidfilmcritic

Up until 2009 Seth Shire spent nearly two decades in the New York film industry as a post production supervisor of feature films. Highlights include working on the films of Martin Scorsese, James Toback and Spike Lee. Since leaving the film industry Seth has expanded into new and varied areas where he has found a great deal of satisfaction. Seth currently teaches in the Sociology Department of CUNY Queens College. His courses include "Mass Media and Popular Culture," "Introduction to Sociology," and "Sociology of Cinema" where he is a very popular teacher. Seth is also the film critic for "Town & Village," a Manhattan weekly newspaper, a position he has held for the past six years. Seth gives back to his community through volunteer teaching at Manhattan's "The Caring Community," a center for senior citizens, where he teaches a very popular course on documentaries called "The Golden Age of the Documentary. In the fall of 2010 Seth taught "Critical Reading and Writing" at Parsons School of Design. He has also taught "Cinema Studies" at the New York Film Academy. Seth lives in Stuyvesant Town, in Manhattan.

Posted on April 29, 2011, in Documentary, Tribeca Film Festival 2011. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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