Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A little romance – a lot of other stuff

I was looking for a little light viewing material this past weekend, and I found P.S. I Love You on the shelf. I’ve always had a little thing for Gerard Butler, who plays the leading man, so I decided to take it home. I have to say I was in for a bit of a surprise.

This is billed as a romantic comedy, but I wouldn’t really call it that. There is certainly a love story, and there are quite a few laughs, but it is also a bit of a tear jerker. This is the tale of a very young widow named Holly (Hilary Swank) whose husband Jerry’s (Gerard Butler) last gift to her is a series of letters sending her on adventures that pave the way to a new life without him. The letters are delivered at irregular intervals in the year after his death, and they start with a tape recording delivered on her birthday. From there she is sent out dancing with her girlfriends, and as time goes on and the letters keep coming, we follow Holly to a karaoke bar, a career change, and eventually on a trip to Ireland to revisit the place she and Jerry met, and to meet with his parents and receive another letter.
Throughout we watch Holly deal with grief and longing and the pain of watching her friend’s lives move on while she feels both stuck and alone. Eventually, Holly begins to find her way again, with new work, new romantic interests, and new and improved relationships with her friends and her mother.

I have to admit that I wasn’t all that wild about Holly at the beginning of the movie; I thought she was a bit of a brat. But as the story progressed she started to grow on me, as she stumbled forward with her life in fits and starts, dealing with a terrible loss as best she could. The supporting cast, which includes Kathy Bates, Harry Connick Jr., Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Lisa Kudrow and several other well known names, rounds out the film wonderfully, adding enjoyable secondary story lines and more comic relief. And really, there’s nothing like a lot of good looking men to perk me up when a sad scene is getting me down! I also found that the soundtrack melded beautifully with the story and contained a wonderful variety or artists and songs. As soon as I can get my hands on a copy, I’ll be taking it home and giving it a listen. Another aspect of the film I really enjoyed was the scenery – both Manhattan and Ireland are wonderfully shot and provide a great sense of place.

Overall, I think this is an enjoyable film as long as you go into it knowing that it is not romantic comedy per se, but more a story of life, love, and loss that has elements many different genres rolled into an attractive package.

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