Romancing grief

Friday, 7 March 2008 - 10:51pm IST
Director Richard La Grevanese’s and writer Steven Rogers adapt Cecilia Ahem’s novel about exploring grief.

P.S. I Love You
Director: Richard LaGrevenese
Cast: Hillary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow, Harry Connick Jr., Gina Greshon, Kathy Bates, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Rating: **½


Director Richard La Grevanese’s and writer Steven Rogers adapt Cecilia Ahem’s novel about exploring grief. The film takes an affectionate look at how a woman copes with the death of a beloved. The result though, is excessively manipulative, with LaGrevanese choosing to make the exploration superficial, without allowing reality and logic to take seed.


The film begins with a glimpse of a day in the life of a madly-in-love young couple Holly (Hillary Swank) and Gerry (Gerard Butler). The next scene details the post-funeral gathering following Gerry’s death, after he is afflicted with brain tumour. Holly is suitably devastated and unable to cope, as Gerry had known she would be.


So, Gerry has made it possible for Holly to receive letters from him (post death) at frequent intervals about how to cope with the loss. The narration is mushy and driven by sentiment - taking us through flashback reminisces while skirting unsuccessfully through Holly’s brief flirtations with post-loss entanglements.


The film lacks depth - the understanding of grief is entirely superficial and its characters don faces that seem too good to be true. There are a few isolated moments that work, especially the ones involving the three girl friends and their attempts to follow the letter. The screenplay has generous inserts of humor but the structure is messily cliché-ridden.


The tone, aided by Terry Stacey’s visuals and John Powell’s music is picture post card pretty. Gerard Butler seems at ease as Gerry; Kathy Bates does a star turn as Holly’s mother while Lisa Kudrow sets-off some entertaining sparks as Holly’s friend. But Hillary Swank seems miscast as Holly, she just doesn’t look the type and her performance fails to muster believability. And that happens to be this film’s Achilles heel!



 




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