P.S. I LOVE YOU (blog)
Category: P.S. I Love You Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: May 26, 2008 | Publication: Cemetary Times Live Journal | Author: Editor
One must be the hardest of all hard-hearted cynics to leave "P.S. I Love You" without feeling touched in the slightest. Hilary Swank is smartly cast as the lead, Holly, of the film. Early on, she loses her husband, Gerry (Gerald Bulter), to a brain tumor, but he remains a strong presence throughout the entire film. Before his death, he writes a series of letters to be sent to via a schedule to Holly after his death. While her friends and family worry that this could prevent her moving on, the opposite occurs. These letters actually give Holly the will to move forward.
"P.S. I Love You" blends comedy and drama very well. It displays the agony and despair of losing a loved one, but it also veers from being a depressing drama by infusing laughter when needed. At times, this film is very tough to watch due to Holly's grief, which props must be given to Hilary because she has the capacity to emote very tenderly--there's no denying why this woman already has two Academy Awards under her belt. While this film definitely isn't Oscar material, the producers didn't intend for it to be submitted for such awards, either. One could argue that the film glosses over Holly's grief--that the moments of laughter and light-heartedness truly take away from the seriousness of the grief involved. While this very well could be true, it's only a movie. Losing a significant other, whether by death or by that other's own choice to leave, is extremely difficult. This film would probably be more realistic if it was a true, gritty drama. It also wouldn't be as enjoyable.
While this may not be the most realistic film, it definitely works because I found myself laughing out loud during many moments right before I felt empathetic towards Holly's plight. This movie could have faltered if the duties had been given to any lesser actress than Hilary Swank. The film straddles a fine line between humor and drama, and it executes very well.
I was most touched by the love between Gerry and Holly. She is downright neurotic at times, but lovingly so. The movie opens with them having a fight, which shows the differences of their personalities. She loses her mind, quite often, and accuses him of not worrying enough. She believes she is the responsible one, and she twists and turns every word that comes out of his mouth to imply something far different from his true intentions. Yet you can't help loving her anyway. Above all, Gerry loves her very selflessly.
The letters that arrive after his death are very touching. This is a man who is dying while writing these letters to be sent to his wife after death. He could have very well been bitter and selfish, but through the letters (which keep coming for a year), he encourages her to move on. He understands Holly so well that he knows in advance how she'll process the grief of his death. He also understands that moving on is a process, and slowly, but surely, he convinces her to clean out his belongings--with the exception of one leather jacket that he always loved on her. It is Gerry's selfless love that helps Holly move forward.
The supporting cast is also spot-on. Lisa Kudrow, James Marsters, Gina Gershon, Harry Connick Jr., and Jeffrey Dean Morgan also all fill their duties very convincingly. My favorite supporting character though would have to be Kathy Bates who serves as Holly's mother. While she didn't lose her signficant other, her husband chose to leave her. During a very touching and thought provoking scene, Bates' character matter-of-factly states that Holly will have to move on eventually. Holly says that her losing Gerry by death is not the same as her mother losing her dad, who left. Bates' simply responds to something like, "Because it's so much easier to deal with when the person you love leaves by choice." Ouch. Yet very real and very true.
The comedy can't be ignored, either. The rapport between Holly and her two girlfriends (Kudrow and Gershon) provides much comic relief. During another funny moment contained within one of Gerry's letters, he encourages her to meet her career goals, and then he says, "and no, there's no such thing as a vampire slayer." This is ironic because one of the supporting characters, James Marsters, is responsible for the famous villian/hero Spike in tv's "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Also, Hillary Swank was in the original film version of "Buffy."
This film is funny yet emotionally poignant at parts. As I said, you have to have a pretty hard heart to deny that this film isn't touching. It may not be for everyone, but it definitely does not deserve to be lost in the shuffle of most standard chick flicks; this is a far, FAR step above your average "chick flick."
Also worth noting is the soundtrack. One of my favorite songs, The Pogues' "Love You Till the End", serves as the love song of Gerry and Holly. It's a beautiful song while not cheesy in the slightest.
Perhaps the best line of the film is given by Kathy Bates: "So now, alone or not, you've got to walk ahead. Thing to remember is if we're all alone, then we're all together in that, too."
4 stars out of 4