PS, I Love You
Review by Jack Foley
GRIEF might seem like an unlikely topic for a romantic comedy-drama but it has been achieved in the past with films like Ghost, which got the blend of tears and humour just right.
P.S. I Love You, on the other hand, is an uneven experience that squanders the talents of two-time Oscar winning actress Hilary Swank and dampens the spirits rather than inspiring them.
The film begins with an argument as supposedly happily married couple Holly (Hilary Swank) and Gerry (Gerard Butler) bicker over finances and the right time to start a family.
It then jumps forward to a time just after Gerry has died from a brain tumour and Holly is grieving inconsolably despite the best efforts of her friends (Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon) and mother (Kathy Bates) to provide support.
She is, however, slowly encouraged to move on when a series of letters that Gerry wrote for her before his death start to arrive that are designed to help awaken her to new possibilities.
Richard LaGravenese’s film, based upon the popular novel by Cecelia Ahern, misfires from the outset by attempting to be a little too cavalier in its approach.
The opening scenes are rife with terrible moments – whether it’s the argument that opens the movie, Butler’s awful attempt at an Irish accent or Harry Connick Jr’s horrid response to the discovery of what caused Gerry’s death (“brain tumour..”, “nice!”).
Thereafter, things very rarely improve. The love letter device becomes annoying after a while and seems designed to leave Holly clinging to the past (via repeated flashbacks), while attempts to balance humour with heartache often sit uncomfortably alongside each other.
A trip to Ireland midway through is also a complete disaster and delivers a plot contrivance (involving Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s guitar player) that’s sickly at best and just plain irritating no matter which way you look at it.
Swank does her best to endear us to Holly and shares some nice scenes with Kathy Bates and Connick Jr – but the film as a whole is best summed up by the latter’s love-struck character, frustrated throughout and then left with an anti-climax.
At just over two hours P.S. I Love You is, quite simply, a terminally depressing experience.
Running time: 2hrs 2mins
UK DVD Release: May 12, 2008