DVD Review: P.S. I Love You

Category: P.S. I Love You Reviews | Posted by: stagewomanjen
Article Date: June 20, 2008 | Publication: Blog Critics | Author: Blake Matthews
Publication/Article Link:http://blogcritics.org/archives/2008/06/20/172409.php

P.S. I Love You is a movie based on the novel of the same name by Cecelia Ahern. The film deals with Holly and Gerry Kennedy, a happily married couple living in Manhattan. It starts with a fight, but you can see that these two are clearly in love and think the world of each other. That makes it all the more tragic when Gerry dies of a brain tumor and Holly must continue on without him.Holly, played by Hilary Swank, then receives a letter from Gerry saying that he has a plan that will help her not only cope with his death, but move on with her life. There will be nine more letters to come. This launches Holly on an adventure of celebration and growth with Gerry, her friends, and family via his letters. What I really liked is that after we are set to wondering how Holly can be getting letters from her dead husband, the explanation, when revealed, isn't at all what I was expecting, and is all the more touching.

This movie has a lot of heart, and successfully combines romance, comedy, grief, and sadness with a talented cast. The supporting cast doesn’t get enough screen time. It includes Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon as Holly’s best friends Denise and Sharon, who provide most of the comedy. Kathy Bates plays Holly’s mother Patricia, and one of my favorite actors, James Marsters, is woefully underused as Sharon’s husband John and Gerry’s best friend. Gerry is portrayed by Gerard Butler, who doesn’t have much screen time since he dies very early in the film, but he narrates it, so his presence is felt, and he does a great job doing so.

I must mention that there’s a little nod to Buffy The Vampire Slayer when Holly is choosing a new career. She has different careers written out on boards, and Gerry’s voice is heard saying, “Vampire Slayer is not a valid career!” Swank had a role in the movie Buffy The Vampire Slayer, while James Marsters played Spike the vampire in Buffy The Vampire Slayer for six seasons and later its spin-off Angel. As a huge Buffy fan, I got a kick out of that, and it’s a funny scene in the movie, made even funnier if you know the connection.

There are a number of extras on the DVD, but sadly no commentary track, which I feel would have enhanced the movie slightly. That said, the extras on P.S. I Love You are:

"A Conversation with Cecilia Ahern": This is a featurette with director Richard LaGravenese, stars Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler, and the author talking about adapting the book for the big screen; the cast talks about working with the author. Ahern speaks about how she wrote the book, her influences, and how the story was Americanized for the film.
Music Video - "Same Mistake" by James Blunt: this video includes clips from the movie.
"The Name of the Game is Snaps": In the film several people play a game called snaps. It comes across in the movie as a rather ridiculous game, and in this mock instructional video supposedly from the 1950s it just comes off as bizarre.
There are five additional scenes. Two are just odd and don’t add anything, but the others should have been left in: a scene with Gerry going to the travel agency and setting up the trip to Ireland, a restaurant scene with Lisa Kudrow’s character discovering she can’t be shallow with relationships, and most important, a scene with James Marsters’ character John and a letter Gerry left for him. There’s no introduction to the scenes or explanation of why they were cut; I thought that such information should have been included.

P.S. I Love You is ultimately a story about loss and working through grief, something everyone must do sooner or later. The premise is slightly formulaic and clichéd, but the way it is handled is unique and worth your viewing time.

Grade A-