'œYoung love is something most of us would probably prefer not to remember too clearly,' said Stephen Holden in The New York Times. Not Ethan Hawke, who liked his semi-autobiographical 1997 novel about a helplessly lovelorn young actor so much that he's directed a film version. The Hottest State's depiction of romantic rejection is often 'œexcruciatingly real,' but as a screenwriter Hawke has little more perspective on post-adolescent angst than his immature characters do. Hawke the director, however, gets the best from two talented young stars, said Linda Stasi in the New York Post. Catalina Sandino Moreno, who made her film debut as an exploited youth in Maria Full of Grace, here plays sexy, independent Sara. Mark Webber, as heartsick William, is riveting. 'œYou get the feeling you're watching a young Gary Oldman, or even Brando'”minus the chiseled face and muscles.' But William's no Stanley Kowalski, said Carina Chocano in the Los Angeles Times. Most viewers will empathize with William's mother, played cheerfully by Laura Linney, who tells him to cut the self-pity. By the time William is reduced to a garden-variety stalker 'œyou're tempted to go out and get a restraining order on him yourself.'
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