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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

P.S. I Love You (review)

Do not believe those TV ads that make this look like the goofy romantic lark of the holiday season. This is not a comedy, and it is no lark. Oh my god, I sobbed so hard during this film — beginning pretty much at the beginning and stopping only because I eventually had to leave the screening room. And you know how I feel about “chick flicks”: I hate ’em, because they usually rely on the most shallow of “emotions” as a kind of shorthand to engage that teary girl gland. I want real emotion… and I found it here. Kinda like Truly, Madly, Deeply without the supernatural element, this is a gloriously down-to-earth gambol through the stages of grief — if grieving can be said to be anything like “gamboling.” That is to say, this wonderful movie — from Richard LaGravenese (Freedom Writers) and based on the novel by Cecelia Ahern — is not relentlessly grim, but it is endlessly poignant even in its lightest moments: it is a warm and human expression of the reality, which we may resist facing when we lose someone, that life does go on. Hilary Swank (The Reaping) is a New York City real-estate agent — though she longs for something else to do with herself — who expectedly loses the love of her life, her husband (Gerard Butler: 300), to cancer. But in the months of his slow decline, he crafted a series of letters to her to be delivered by a secret helper after his death, missives designed to gradually nudge her to continue living. Honestly, Swank’s Holly was just a little bit of a self-centered bitch with him, as much as she adored him (Butler and Swank spark with electric chemistry), even used him like a bit of a crutch, and we believe that she probably needed just this kind of push out of the nest of her heartache. There’s the indescribably touching romance of this: how well he knows her, and can cater to her need. There’s a chick fantasy for ya.

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MPAA: rated PG-13 for sexual references and brief nudity

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
  • Well, it does have some humourous bits, but you’re right. It’s not really a comedy even if it does seem a little like “Catch and Release 2.” (Doesn’t help that Hilary Swank looks more than a little like Jennifer Garner to my eyes, but at least there’s no silly Juliette Lewis character.)

    Anyway, my girlfriend and I saw this last weekend, and we both enjoyed it. And I got the impression that the other people in the audience enjoyed it too.

  • Miguel

    MaryAnn, it seems like you and I watched a completely different movie from the one most critics saw -or wanted to see. That’s why I admire your passionate reviews, you don’t care if you’re the only one defending a film that’s been dismissed as a tearjerker/romantic comedy.

  • MaryAnn

    The minute I start to care about what anyone else thinks — and start to mold my reviews to fit what those someone-elses think — is the minute any usefulness I might have as a critic is over.

  • Kenny

    Frankly, I often go and see movies on the strength of your recomendations alone. My girlfriend wanted me to go an see this with her, but thanks to the misleading trailer, I wasn’t keen. I am now.

  • Isobel

    I completely refused to go and see this when it was on at the cinema as I thought it was going to be trite and just utterly awful. Then today I stumbled across it on Sky Movies (it’s a snow day, daytime TV is awful, I thought I may as well) and I’m still sniffling. It’s a corker and I never knew – why was it marketed so badly as the worst kind of chick-flick?

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