Review: P.S. I Love You

P.S. I Love You opens with a domestic dispute. The dialogue sounds fake. Real people don’t talk or behave like this. But real people don’t look like Hillary Swank or Gerard Butler.

Sometime during the main title, beloved Gerry dies and we are immediately thrown into a memorial service at an Irish pub, where it seems tradition to farewell a soul by walking up to a photo, saying a pithy remark, and consuming a shot of whiskey. I was quite relieved that Gerry was dead within the first five minutes, naively forgetting that he was sure to turn up in flashbacks, and also as part of Holly’s imagination. Letters mysteriously arrive from him post-death encouraging her to do such banal tasks as throwing out all his old stuff, and to cut loose by singing kareoke.

Gerry never, ever, refers to Holly by her name, instead calling her Baby (pronounced ‘Baybee’) all the time, e.g. “Make sure my baybee has a good time.” I’m not sure Hillary Swank is the right sort of actress to be in this sort of film. She delves into the drama too deeply and her character ends up whiny and dull. She’s no fun.

Unsurprisingly, the film capitalizes on the world’s fascination with all things Irish. There is a tin whistle on the soundtrack, and an assumption that Irish men are handsome and like to play guitars in pubs while working part time as a farmhand and fitting in one day a week as a coastguard.

All of the above criticism, however, may be discredited if you are of a certain mindset that finds reward in tacky weepies. You may well be manipulated by this guilty pleasure more than I was. Swank and Butler are certainly photogenic, and the unchallenging story could be a perfect night out for fat girls, lonely spinsters, or those whose boyfriend has just carked it.