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Lovers of Hate: Brave, Squirmy, and Tender

Karpovsky as a lover of lust
IFC Films

A 2010 Sundance favorite, this inventive (and inventively thrifty) character study from Austin indie stalwart Bryan Poyser never flinches from the intractable sibling resentment at its core. This makes Lovers of Hate as brave as it is squirmy, but there’s a mitigating tenderness here as well. Shaggy, unemployable slacker Rudy (Chris Doubek), who is stalling on a divorce from fed-up Diana (Heather Kafka), harbors a near-terminal jealousy of his brother, Paul (Alex Karpovsky), a successful kids’-book author who co-opts characters the pair dreamed up as children. The antagonism helps push Rudy into homelessness and fuels Paul’s ego-driven lust for Diana, who soon hooks up with the writer in his Utah mountain retreat. Unbeknown to the rutting couple, Rudy is there, too, lurking, spying, and exacting a sublimely passive-aggressive revenge. Poyser’s rhythm is as economically fluid as his narrative is blunt, and the cast is fearlessly in tune—Doubek and Karpovsky could pass for real brothers, and their darkly funny give-and-take (mostly take) exchanges underscore how neediness cuts both ways in even the most off-balance relationships. Or, as Rudy puts it in reference to Paul’s literary decisions, “How can everyone be special? That leaves no room for submoronic peers!”


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