P.S. I Love You

26 12 2007

P.S. I Love YouHilary Swank is a talented actress, winning an Oscar not only for her performance in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, but also as the transgendered Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry. Why she’d choose to then star in such a tepid romance as P.S. I Love You is a mystery right up there with the meaning of Stonehenge and the reason why Travolta never made Battlefield Earth 2.

The film opens with a protracted intro featuring an argument between apparently-in-love couple Holly (Swank) and Gerry (Gerard Butler) over a comment Gerry made to Holly’s mother earlier that evening. Rather than establishing how right for each other this couple is, this scene merely sets up the characters as being rather unlikeable and one-dimensional. The whole thing comes off as rather cliched.

After the opening credits, we find out that Gerry has since died of a brain tumour, and by the end of the first act, it’s been revealed that he’d created a scheme whereby Holly will receive a series of letters from him “beyond the grave” over the coming months. These letters, of course, are designed to ease Holly out of her grief and into a new life.

P.S. I Love You still

The main problem here is that the theme of dealing with grief isn’t really addressed in any kind of meaningful way. Sure, Holly’s mother (played by the always dependable Kathy Bates) admonishes her for not getting on with life, and Gerry’s letters at least get her out and active again, but Holly is so passive throughout that I didn’t ever feel that she really dealt with her sense of loss so much as coasted through it.

In the context of the story itself, the letters from Gerry actually seem strangely cruel. Although they do get Holly to participate in life again, it’s life with the spectre of Gerry hanging over it, whether it be a round of karaoke (just as she’d once done while he was alive) or a trip to his homeland of Ireland.

Of course, the real reason for the letters is to allow flashbacks detailing the romance between Gerry and Holly. It’s the transparency of this contrivance that lets the film down the most, and yet it’s the whole hook of the story.

This isn’t a bad film — it’s just rather flat. But with so many better films out there, I can’t see any real reason to recommend this one.

(star)(star)(no star)(no star)(no star)

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2 responses

26 12 2007
nylusmilk

i felt this was an awful book to begin with. i didn’t like the protagonist at all; she was weak, whiny and woeful (perhaps understandably so for losing her husband, but still…). doesn’t surprise me that the movie is as awful. but that’s personally how i feel about the book, because obviously it’s a hit with many girls. ūüôā

i don’t get why hilary swank was cast as the lead too. baffling…

26 12 2007
Dion

Interesting — I was wondering what the source was like, actually.

This is a film for people who demand little from their romantic comedy/dramas. It’s a shame, because (like with action films for guys) the audience often deserves a lot more.

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