Film of the week: PS I Love You

Category: P.S. I Love You Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: December 25, 2007 | Publication: Ballymena Times | Author: Staff Reporter
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ADAPTED from Cecelia Ahern's novel, director Richard LaGrevanese (Freedom Writers) moves the action Stateside where New Yorker Holly Kennedy (Hilary Swank) comes to terms with her husband Gerry's (Gerard Butler) death.
Gerry, who knew he was dying from a brain tumour, had written a series of letters to Holly before his demise to help his wife through her bereavement.

What's Holly to do? Well, throw in a handsome bartender (Harry Connick Jr.) and a handsome guitarist in Whelan's (Jeffery Dean Morgan), during a short sojourn in Ireland, and you've got a decent hark back to old-fashioned romance movies on your hands.

Holly finds herself drowning in a sea of despair. Her friends and family cannot shake Holly from this deep depression. The solution comes in the form of Gerry’s letters.

Swank turns in a passable performance as Holly. It will be hard to watch her work and not think about how an actress like Jennifer Garner could have given the performance a little more depth, especially if you saw Garner's Catch and Release.

That's because Swank is at her best when she plays flawed characters such as in Million Dollar Baby. Her performances in those kind of roles come across as more natural. She never comes across as being completely comfortable in this role. This is good work, just not her best.

The best scenes are those that feature Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler, whether they be flashbacks or just the romantic fantasies of Holly's imagination. This is an 180-degree change for Butler from his brutal work in 300 but he can pull off the Irish charm to make this role work.

There are some very sweet and endearing moments between the two. It is a shame that the movie's key plot point limits Butler's participation.

Had the focus just been the two lovers, this would have been a romantic tale for the ages. The problem is all of the peripheral characters. Lisa Kudrow is reduced to playing another version of her character from Friends. Harry Connick Jr'srole as a suitor with no social skills is more painful than playful. And Gina Gershon is wasted as Holly's rather normal best friend.

All of these characters distract from the heart of this movie: the deep love affair.

There have been some major changes from the original novel by Cecelia Ahern, including the addition of all of the sequences in the United States.

Director Richard LaGravenese was smart enough to keep some of the Irish elements of the book. And those are some of the better moments in the film.

PS I Love You is a great idea for a chick lit book and a chick flick movie - it's got tragedy, some funny moments, handsome guys running amok, the possibility of a new romance and a fresh start in life.

Like most love affairs, this is not a perfect effort. In the flood of new films opening for the holidays, PS I Love is without a doubt the best date movie of the bunch.