Saturday, February 09, 2008

P.S. I Love You

Who's Your Choice?

P.S. I Love You is a no-brainer for it to be released this Valentine's Day here, though the challenge of course will be putting couples into seats. Nonetheless everyone's in need for some form of love story, and this will likely fit the bill, although the story's as cliche as love stories can be, and it's not exactly new material for the screen, given that there's a Thai movie called "The Letter" (Jod Mai Rak) which likely had took a leaf from the source material, the novel P.S. I Love You written by Cecelia Ahern.

Gerry (Gerard Butler) and Holly (Hilary Swank) Kennedy are a yuppie couple trying to find their footing in their married life - you know, the usual disapproval from their respective in-laws, Gerry's eagerness to have children, and Holly's perpetually sense of loss in her career, not knowing exactly what to do. We spend the first 10 minutes of the movie listening to typical couple bickering, before all of a sudden, Gerry bites the dust. Yes, you might think that given such a development, it's highly unsuitable as a Valentine's Day movie, but I'd say not to count your chickens first. Thankfully it doesn't dive into what Asian romances do - which is an extended hospital sequence with plenty of scenes to milk those tears out of your ducts - he goes, and that's it.

But of course Gerard Butler's name is not on the marquee for nothing, and he's not gonna earn that paycheck so easily. In Shattered which was shown few weeks back, Pierce Brosnan had to opportunity to flex his natural Irish accent. Here, it's Butler's turn, and that probably fluttered the hearts of many females in the audience from the audible sighs of falling in love with that, a great departure from his yowling and screaming for blood in 300 which he is now synonymous with. As the story goes, his Gerry finally comes out with concrete plans, one that is to continue the romance and to help his wife tide through his loss, through letters, instructions and the likes, nothing short of what Keanu Reeves did with Sandra Bullock in The Lake House, although that one had a time sensitive element involved.

I've always likened Hilary Swank to tough cookie roles, and Million Dollar Baby helped cement that fact. So to see her here, as a leading lady in a romantic movie, really took some time to get used to. Not to say that's she not pretty enough, but those biceps really complemented Butler's. If there's a weakness in the casting, I'm afraid to say that she's quite miscast because the role calls for a sense of vulnerability, and the inability to move on, and dwelling in one's loss. Hilary Swank doesn't project that, and unfortunately I thought that she could have picked herself up at any one point early in the film.

For the most parts, the narrative replays and recounts the love life between Gerry and Holly, taking us to places where their romance started and blossomed, with a host of characters on the side, such as Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon being her great girlfriends, hunters on the side with Harry Connick Jr. and Jeffrey Dean Morgan the potential suitors, and of course, Kathy Bates being the mother. You can't deny though that there are some truths about relationships being communicated throughout, and those in reality are the gems the movie provides, and make great conversational pieces after the movie to discuss with your loved one. There's a nice, touching element of a surprise to it all too, though one can probably see it coming a mile away.

There are definitely some flaws in the movie pertaining to coincidences of events, but hey, falling in love itself does take some believing in the flawed cosmic logic of the heart. While it's not a great romance movie, you'll probably be floored by the little thoughts that go a long way, and the transient notion of course to appreciate every moment with your loved one, and not wait for things to happen for the worse, to start reminiscing the loss.

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