Hottest State

The Hottest State

3.0 1

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Mark Webber, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Laura Linney

Soon after relocating from Texas to New York in a bid to make the big time, a 21-year-old actor enters into a turbulent relationship with a struggling singer/songwriter in writer/director Ethan Hawke's screen adaptation of his own debut novel. William (Mark Webber) is an aspiring actor with dreams of making it


Soon after relocating from Texas to New York in a bid to make the big time, a 21-year-old actor enters into a turbulent relationship with a struggling singer/songwriter in writer/director Ethan Hawke's screen adaptation of his own debut novel. William (Mark Webber) is an aspiring actor with dreams of making it big. Upon arriving in New York City, William soon enters into a tenuous romance with Sarah (Catalina Sandino Moreno), a talented musician with a winning voice and keen songwriting skills. Love is a fickle thing, though, and in the thriving world of young and talented artists, it isn't always enough to make a relationship last.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Ethan Hawke has always taken himself too seriously, and his roles -- especially his collaborations with Richard Linklater -- have left him shamelessly enamored with talky bohemian romances. These combined factors could have made The Hottest State an exercise in pretentious naval-gazing. After all, Hawke is adapting his own novel, and his sophomore turns as screenwriter and director represent the first time he's had such control over one project. What's more, he's clearly fashioned the protagonist after himself, outfitting Mark Webber in messy cowlicks and an orgy of thrift-store couture; he's the kind of free spirit whose reckless honesty always gets him into trouble. But The Hottest State isn't actually insufferable. Its sins are pretty forgivable -- for example, randomly dissecting linguistics without any narrative justification, or assigning significance that isn't there. If anything, Hawke can be accused of a bit more sentimentality than he probably intended in his choice of music, an excessively cheery acoustic score by Jesse Harris, when a brooding indie soundtrack might have seemed more his style. And give him this: some of Hawke's dialogue really penetrates to the heart of the matter, producing observations the viewer hasn't quite heard in those words. However, an overall lack of specificity ultimately dooms The Hottest State to remaining a minor and mostly forgettable work. For one, the film doesn't have a heck of a lot to do with the territory alluded to in the title, other than some cereal-box wisdom by William's absent father (played by Hawke) to "never stray too far from Texas in your heart." Webber and Catalina Sandino Moreno make a more than watchable central pairing, but both their initial attraction and eventual friction seem unremarkable at best, manufactured at worst. Once Hawke moves beyond constructs and gets a better grasp on real people, he'll mature as a filmmaker.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Velocity / Thinkfilm
Region Code:

Special Features

Filmmaker commentary with writer/director Ethan Hawke and crew; "Straight to One" a short film by Ethan Hawke; Theatrical trailer; Trailer gallery; 5.1 Dolby Digital surround

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Mark Webber William Harding
Catalina Sandino Moreno Sara Garcia
Ethan Hawke Vince
Laura Linney Jesse
Michelle Williams Samantha
Sonia Braga Mrs. Garcia
Jesse Harris Dave Atron
Daniel Ross Young Vince
Anne Clarke Young Jesse
Josh Zuckerman Actor
Alexandra Daddario Actor
Cherami Leigh Actor

Technical Credits
Ethan Hawke Director,Screenwriter
Alexis Alexanian Producer
Jason Blum Producer
Rick Butler Production Designer
Linda Cohen Musical Direction/Supervision
Jesse Harris Score Composer
Sheila Jaffe Casting,Co-producer
Yukie Kito Producer
Yasushi Kotani Executive Producer
Chris Norr Cinematographer
Griffin Richardson Sound/Sound Designer
Adriana Pacheco Rincon Editor
Jonathan Shoemaker Co-producer
Taizo Son Executive Producer
Taiso Son Executive Producer
Annie Tan Asst. Director
Catherine Marie Thomas Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Hottest State
1. Opening Sequence [9:16]
2. Jacket [3:38]
3. Hang Ups [9:25]
4. Options [7:06]
5. David [9:10]
6. Mexico [5:52]
7. Love [5:52]
8. Phone Home [7:24]
9. Early Flight [6:13]
10. Eight Blocks [7:31]
11. Four Weeks [4:23]
12. Honest [7:32]
13. Samantha [10:57]
14. Texas [10:31]
15. Life Goes On [6:40]
16. End Credits [4:51]


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The Hottest State 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ethan Hawke wrote the book THE HOTTEST STATE and then proceeded to write the screenplay, direct and act in it. Sometimes that combination works, but in this instance the whole project feels like a narcissistic self-indulgent autobiographical talky two hours. Hawke is respected enough among his peers that he was able to draw a fine cast together in an attempt to make this film work, but in the end it is pretty boring. Young Texas actor William (Mark Webber) has moved to New York to make it big, and while he gets jobs, he feels as though he doesn't have a handle on relationships. When he meets the beautiful singer Sarah (Catalina Sandino Moreno) he falls in love but has no idea how to court his dream girl. Sarah is cautious about relationships, too, yet is attracted to William and consents to travel to Mexico to heat up their bonding. In Mexico they spend the greater part of their time consummating their love affair: the love scenes are fairly erotic, especially on the part of Moreno. Returning to their jobs in New York the two face problems in continuing their relationship. William's divorced parents (Laura Linney and Ethan Hawke) have their own demons that prevent their providing William with much consolation, and Sarah's mother (Sonia Braga) has a rather negative view of relationships. How the film finally winds down with dealing with William's whining and Sarah's resistance is all that is left of the lengthy diatribe. Though Linney, Braga, Michelle Williams (in too short a role), and Moreno try to make this story tolerable, it is inherent in the concept that William (Ethan Hawke poorly disguised) is just too boring a guy to care about. Mark Webber is supposed to have the promise and charisma of a 'new Brando' (according to the hype), but he is flat in this film. The soundtrack is wearing and rarely takes a break for the dialog. Hawke can and has done better. Hopefully he has released his ego in this film and can move on. Grady Harp