Widow of Opportunity
Category: P.S. I Love You Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: January 3, 2008 | Publication: Evening Standard | Author: Derek Malcolm
Hilary Swank is a notable actress. But she doesn't do either charm or humour enormously well. That, however, isn't the basic trouble in this fractured rom-com from Oscar-winning screenwriter turned director Richard LaGravenese.
Despite its leading lady, P.S. I Love You has a lightness of touch that in the end renders its message - how to come to terms with grief - almost invisible. Swank is a young widow who was always bickering with her husband (Gerard Butler) but can't cope when he dies of a brain tumour.
Matters are made worse when a series of letters arrive at her door, purportedly written by him as a kind of comfort blanket for when he leaves her. She is told to "get out and celebrate herself ".
Her new beginning, however, is fraught and Kathy Bates as her mum and Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon as her best friends determined to see her through widowhood become increasingly worried.
Even the steady flirting of her new would-be squeeze, Harry Connick Jr, doesn't comfort her much. But we know from previous experience of such stories that she'll battle her way through.
The film tries for both pathos and hilarity, sometimes at roughly the same time. But you never really know enough about any of the characters for them to become interesting. Added to that, the wildly varying tone eventually sinks the whole thing.
Moving the action from Dublin, where the book on which it is based was set, to New York was probably a mistake. And the feel-good ending just looks like the inevitable cop-out.