If you knew your life was ending, would you think up a way to help your spouse/significant other move on? In P.S. I Love You, Gerry Kennedy (Gerard Butler) knows he’s going to die and concocts a plan to help his wife Holly (Swank) make it through the grieving process and start over without him.
Holly and Gerry have verbal battles over children and shopping and sex and future plans – the same things a lot of married couples spar over from time to time. Gerry wants more ‘hot, nasty sex;’ Holly wants Gerry to get serious about work. Holly’s intelligent and serious; Gerry’s a fun-loving Irish hunk with a wicked sense of humor. Despite the occasional bad moments and their clashing personalities, their marriage is a strong one.
But the Kennedys aren’t given a ‘happily ever after’ ending to their relationship. Gerry succumbs to an illness and Holly’s left to handle life without her best friend. Depressed, Holly becomes a hermit in the home she shared with Gerry. She withdraws from her friends Denise (Lisa Kudrow) and Sharon (Gina Gershon) and won’t respond to phone calls from her concerned mom, Patricia (Kathy Bates). Holly’s miserable and inconsolable – basically a horrible mess who’s resorted to watching old Judy Garland movies and going without bathing.
Swank’s known for embracing roles that are anything but glamorous, but in P.S. I Love You she shows there is a softer side to the multiple Oscar winner. Swank does a fine job of balancing the comedy with the drama, although playing the romantic leading lady doesn’t seem to suit her as well as playing a boxer in Million Dollar Baby.
Scottish actor Gerard Butler (300) ditches action films for a while to take on the role of Gerry. Butler’s not only easy on the eyes in P.S. I Love You (his strip tease is worth the price of admission), he’s also easy on the ears. Signing on stage at a karaoke bar or providing the voiceover as Swank reads his letters, Butler’s charismatic presence on screen and engaging voice make him the right choice to play a guy who, albeit in a morbid way, plans ahead.
To Sum It Up
Death and the grieving process aren’t the usual setups for a romantic comedy and director LaGravenese obviously had to walk a very fine line to keep the film from becoming maudlin. The film hits a few speed bumps by relying on the delivery of letters to prompt Holly into action, because there becomes a point in the film in which the letters seem to be a hindrance in Holly’s ability to just get on with things. The audience is left to wonder if she wouldn’t have actually moved on quicker had she stopped getting these reminders from the past sooner. Of course, the flip side of that argument is that it would have meant the end of Butler’s presence in the film early on, something which wouldn’t sit well with fans of the talented actor.
P.S. I Love You was directed by Richard LaGravenese and is rated PG-13 for sexual references and brief nudity.