Directed by: Richard LaGravenese | 126 minutes | drama, comedy | Actors: Hilary Swank, Gerard Butler, Lisa Kudrow, Gina Gershon, Harry Connick Jr., Kathy Bates, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, James Marsters, Dean Winters, Tony Devon, Mike Doyle, Marcus Collins, Stephen Singer, Eliezer Meyer, Sal Longobardo, Caris Vujcec, Chris Edwards, Christopher Whalen, Madalyn McKay, Don Sparks, Ryan Everett Canfield, Alexandra McGuinness, Bryan Webster, Roger Rathburn, Richard Wallace Smith, Mark J. Parker
Director and writer Richard LaGravenese must have had a good time with true actress Hilary Swank while filming “Freedom Writers” (2007). The film was not over when he went back into the studio with her, to film his script “P.S., I Love You”.
Several years ago, LaGravenese lost his father, a dramatic event that helped him as a filmmaker to make Holly’s grief tangible. Furthermore, he apparently knows a lot about women, in a film that seems intended for women and is mainly populated by women. Their considerations, feelings and relationships are easy to follow.
The men in the film do not shy away from their feminine sides, which is refreshing. They are tough guys, but with a soft touch. Just the way women want, right?
The big surprise of the film is Harry Connick Jr., who is gradually proving to be an excellent actor as well as being a good singer, pianist and performer. Under LaGravenese, he stands out as Holly’s soul mate and potential new lover. Hilary Swank is fine too, but we didn’t expect it any different.
The story is quite original, although a bit far-fetched; it is not very common to receive letters from your dead husband. Unless you see it as a fairytale, but it never will. Holly’s response is also not entirely credible. You wonder whether someone would go along with this rather sinister fact that quickly. But then you put your disbelief aside for a moment and it starts to work.
Slowly Holly becomes addicted to the letters, which might have been a bit more poignant. The film skips somewhat between comedy and drama. There are nice scenes, such as that trip on the rowboat and a few loose moments here and there. Many situations and considerations are recognizable and credible and there is room to cry and laugh. Actors and actresses have a good time and go for it, with Lisa Kudrow as a funny note, although she holds back, it never gets hilarious.
What really undermines the power of the film is the fact that everything is drawn out for too long. Dialogues often last too long and unfortunately especially in a few key scenes between Holly and Gerry. This doesn’t make “P.S., I Love You” a bad movie, but it could easily have been half an hour shorter. Then the data would have been sharper and attention would have remained longer. Kill your darlings, Richard!