At 19, Liv Tyler has been a daughter to two rock legends (she called Todd Rundgren Dad until she was 10, then learned that Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler is her real father), the center of a feeding frenzy in Cannes, the star of a Bernardo Bertolucci movie, and, according to Tom Hanks, ”the oldest 18-year-old I’ve ever encountered.”
So much life experience; so little that comes through on screen. Tyler is that rare creature who is maturing as an actress without seeming to gain in finesse. She’s starred in six films to date, and while at her worst she’s a pouty-lipped, dead-voiced blank, at her more recent best, unexpectedly rich nuances can float up through the artless perfection of that face.
With Heavy, you finally get a sense of what Liv Tyler can do. This low-key slice of life centers on Victor (Pruitt Taylor Vince), a corpulent, emotionally repressed diner cook; unfortunately, the kitchen-sink realism gets clogged as the tale unfolds. But Tyler’s Callie, a distraught young waitress enshrined in Victor’s heart, is inexplicably moving. Heavy shows us people who are desperate for contact yet incapable of it, and Callie is the character most nakedly wounded by that injustice. Far from conveying it with craft, Tyler simply lets the sorrow well up and spill over. C