It sounded strangely like Premonition (dead husband issues) without the horror, and promised to be sweet enough to make my teeth fall out. But, joy of joys, P.S. I Love You is not unnecessarily sweet, it’s not a cotton candy valentine. Instead, it’s a warm engaging movie experience doesn’t ask a lot of the audience and fits the holiday season nicely.
One critic I spoke with said ‘Too Christmassy. Too nice.’ Be warned. Too nice. Yikes.
There are touches of realism in that the romantic relationships between the characters do not follow the standard boy-meets-girl formula, opting instead to acknowledge that it’s not a perfect H’wood world.
Hilary Swank is Holly, a woman who refused to have a baby with her husband Gerry (Gerard Butler) a wasted opportunity she deeply regrets when he dies of a brain tumour. Her friends’ happiness at getting married, expecting babies, is hard for her to take and she becomes sadly and defiantly alone. Holly obsesses over her husband in ways her family thinks are unhealthy.
Letters start showing up written by Gerry before his death, asking her not to grieve but to go on with her life. He sends her to his childhood home in Ireland where they first met, with her two girlfriends (Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon) who want her to get out of her funk.
She meets a guy.
Swank is a skilled actress who brings recognizable human emotion to her work. She seems to be older than her years, even as she plays Holly at eighteen.
Gerard Butler may not have been the wisest choice as Gerry because for the entire film I waited for him to scream ‘Tonight we dine in heeeelll!”.
Kathy Bates as Holly’s disapproving mother is pure brilliance. Boy is that woman underused!
Harry Connick, Jr. tends bar at the family’s Lower East Side who provides some hilarity to the sometimes somber proceedings. He claims to have a condition that makes him say things most people wouldn’t dare. ‘I don’t have that filter!’ His honesty is just what she needs.
What we have here is a tearjerker. I am not opposed to this genre of film and enjoy it from time to time especially if there is real reason to blubber.
P.S. I Love You did the trick for me.
Written and directed by Richard LaGravenese
Opens: Dec. 12
Runtime: 126 minutes
MPAA: PG-13 for sexual references and brief nudity