Will we love Hilary Swank’s “P.S.” or write it off?

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Two-time Academy Award winner Hilary Swank has a new film opening this Friday: P.S. I Love
You
.

That
sounds so cute, but P.P.S. that’s what worries me. Why, oh why, do so
many Oscar-winning actors immediately turn their professional attentions
to the supernatural, or superhero, or save-the-world teacher, or in
this case pseudo-paranormal tripe, after receiving that famous golden
statue? Are they so blinded by its shiny little bald head that their
vision is impaired to the point that they can’t see how poorly scripted
many of these followup projects are? Or how sappy the concepts are?
Or how vapid and cliché the stories can be? Whatever it is,
it sure does happen often. Charlize TheronAeon Flux?

Halle BerryCatwoman? Nicole KidmanBirth?
The Stepford Wives
? Bewitched? Kevin SpaceyK-PAX?
Yikes!

OK, confession time.
I love Hilary Swank.

Two of my very favorite films of
the last 7–8 years are Boys Don’t Cry and Million
Dollar Baby
. Her energy on-screen in both of those films is so captivating. But that’s not the big confession. The confession
is that I have not seen this new film. So I shouldn’t be discussing something
that I haven’t even seen. But just reading the premise of this
new movie makes me cringe, and it makes me sad that Hilary and I apparently
do not cringe at the same things.

P.S. I Love You is
the screen adaptation of Irish writer Cecelia Ahern‘s novel of the
same name. The movie has been officially described as a romantic comedy
with drama (way to cover all the bases!). Here’s the synopsis:

Childhood
sweethearts Holly and Gerry could finish each other’s sentences. No one
could imagine them apart. Until, that is, the unthinkable happened:
Holly is faced with the prospect of spending the rest of her life without
her husband. Then, one day, a light appears at the end of the tunnel
in the form of a surprise letter. Secretly, Gerry has left her a series
of notes written before he died. They are delivered one per month to gently guide
Holly into her new life, each finishing with “P.S. I love you."

Here’s the trailer:



Boy, that Gerry really did
plan ahead, and yes, it does sound sort of sweet. It really does. But
reading sweet in a novel isn’t the same as watching sweet being acted
out on a screen. A book allows for imagination, but the screen can leave
a person with a toothache and a bad cavity if the sweet is too overstated.
Reading letters from a deceased love one that were written while the
loved one was alive for you to read after he has died doesn’t quite fit
into the fully paranormal category — but it borders on it enough to give
me the creeps. I mean, yes, you can love someone so much that
you know that your death will bring such profound sadness that you would
do anything to help your lover through the grief. I get that. But the
film is being billed as a comedy/drama and romance, and well, maybe
I’m just not that romantic.

Oh, wait, you like this type
of movie? OK, well, enjoy. Actually, the reviews are not so wonderful so far,
but it may settle at the 50-50 mark. Personally, I haven’t liked
a talk-to-a-dead-person movie since Ghost.

Swank has some quality costars in the film, including Lisa Kudrow and Kathy Bates, as well as Gina Gershon, Harry Connick,
Jr
. and Gerard Butler.

I hope I’m completely wrong about
the film. I hope it draws in a decent audience and I hope that Swank
is wonderful in it. Like others, I’m sure she has more great films
in her future. Word of mouth will be very important in my decision-making
about this particular film — I’ll gladly queue
it up in my online rental list if the word is good. But there will have to be some quality performances
and lovely understated writing if I am to get past my aversion to watching
movies about helpful, loving letters from dead husbands. I don’t know;
maybe it really will be a P.S. I Love It! Maybe we all will. Maybe?

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