Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Film Night - P.S. I Love You

This Friday Presents Extra author Heidi Rice treats us to the must-see chick flick of the year....P.S. I Love You!

Before I launch into my blog on the funny, pleasantly cheesy, heart-meltingly romantic (and surprisingly poignant) PS I Love You starring Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank I have to admit I was in a quandary about whether to do this film. Because I knew if I blogged on it, I’d have to give away the huge twist at the start. But then I thought, what the heck, you all are romance lovers, you’ve probably read Cecilia Ahern’s fabulous debut novel and already know all about the so-called twist — which probably wasn’t even supposed to be a twist. But I have to fess up here and admit that not only had I not read the book I knew exactly nothing about the movie when I strong-armed my 15 year old son into seeing it one Saturday afternoon this January.

So imagine me sitting in the cinema and watching the cute funny opening sequence. Hard-working married couple Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler are bickering about money in their New York apartment. She wants to move somewhere swankier before they think about starting a family (but honestly it looked pretty darn swanky to me, I had two kids in a flat half that size!). They both somehow get down to their underwear (Gerard managing to look delectable despite a dodgy boxers, socks and braces ensemble). They tease, they flirt, they bicker some more and then make up with an uber-sexy kiss. By this time I’m hoovering up my popcorn and looking forward to a sexy rom-com with these two bright, beautiful people happily sparring off each other for the rest of the movie. And I’m even ready to forgive Gerard his extremely iffy Irish accent. (Ever get the feeling Hollywood executives can’t tell the difference between Scottish accents and Irish ones? Sean Connery in The Untouchables anyone? I rest my case).

Then it cuts to the next scene in a neighbourhood bar and Hilary’s holding back tears in a sleek black outfit and Gerard’s nowhere in sight. I’m looking, wondering where the heck is he and then I finally have the big ‘Duh’ moment and realize to my horror Gerard is in the studded box on the bar surrounded by candles. Wait a cotton picking minute here. He’s died and been cremated and we’re only ten minutes into the movie? Well, I’ll tell you, once I’d picked my jaw (and the remains of my popcorn) off the floor I was pretty darn peed off. The movie posters had Gerard all over them. This was supposed to be a chick-flick, a bit of escapist fluff, not a movie about dying and grief with Gerard’s buff chest nowhere in sight for 90 percent of the movie (and I’m not counting whatever was in that box).

But then the movie — and Cecilia Ahern’s lovely story — worked it’s magic on me. As most of you will already know, Hilary’s character Holly receives a series of letters and gifts and tickets to Ireland and the like throughout the movie (and over the next year of her life) meticulously planned by Gerard’s character Gerry before he died to guide Holly through her grief.

Before long I had fallen in love with the movie and discovered you actually can have a rom-com about grief. Because that, in a nutshell, is what this is. It’s about all those things grief puts you through, but it’s also about the things you learn along the way. It’s about remembering the good times and dealing with the bad, about coping with your anger and your sadness and your frustration — and most of all it’s about how you move on and build a new life when you’ve lost the person you thought would always be there for you. The person you planned to share a lifetime with.

You get all that, plus the added benefit of an excellent cast. Not just the gorgeous Gerard to ogle (I do love a good flashback); and Hilary being light but not too fluffy; but also Lisa Kudrow as one of Holly’s friends doing her Phoebe schtick with the ditz-ometer on a lower setting; the fabulous Kathy Bates as Holly’s mum (someone give this woman a proper starring role again, please); and handsome new face Jeffrey Dean Morgan (a Male on Monday prospect if ever I saw one).

And when Holly takes the trip Gerry has arranged to the Emerald Isle, there’s also lots of romantic ‘Oirish’ locations to indulge in — you know, the sort Hollywood movies and the Irish Tourist Board love. Cue rolling green hills, dry stone walls, quirky locals and dark, handsome, blue-eyed boyos singing love songs in craic-filled pubs. I swear, I thought Maureen O'Hara was about to pop up in a supporting role (and was a bit disappointed when she didn't).

There were a few things that didn’t quite work. As much as I liked Harry Connick Jr’s geeky turn as Holly’s new boyfriend, I felt he needed a movie of his own to tell his story — and ended up being used too often as rather clumsy light relief.

But that’s a minor quibble. All in all, this hits all the chick-flick buttons and then some. It’s both funny and sad, cute and sexy (just wait for Holly and Gerry’s first meeting) and on occasion almost unbearably moving (I cleaned out my sinuses but good at one point).

So the Pink Heart Fuzzy Rating is a resounding 8 out of 10. Not at all bad frankly for a movie in which the hero pops his clogs straight after the opening credits.

Heidi’s latest Mills and Boon Modern Heat/Harlequin Presents The Tycoon’s Very Personal Assistant is on the shelves now in the UK and due out in the US in September.

Cataromance said about it:

‘Sexy, flirty, feel-good and emotional, Heidi Rice has written another wonderful contemporary romance that is bound to delight her growing legion of fans. Fast-paced, moving and totally compelling, let Heidi Rice sweep you off to a world of passion, glamour and sizzling seduction with her latest Modern Heat, The Tycoon’s Very Personal Assistant!'

Her second book The Mile High Club has finaled in this year’s RITAs.

You can read all about her books, the reviews or her search for the perfect posh frock for the RITAs on her
website and her blog.


  1. Jeffrey Dean Morgan--I've heard things about a particular scene of his in this film. I'm a big fan of Supernatural where he played the hot, hot dad. I might see this movie just to check out that one scene. ;-)


  2. Ellen

    I think I know what scene you're talking about and... let's just say it's worth watching the film for all in itself. This guy is definitely going places... somewhere near North London I'm hoping.

  3. Heidi, you do realise that your son is sooooo going to get you back for putting him through this some day?!
    x Abby Green

  4. oh come on guys - what's the scene???!!!!!!

  5. Abby,

    He got me back already. Kung-Fu Panda anyone???

    And Nat,

    I'm keeping mum hear, all I'm saying is that our Jeffrey has some very nice assets for a 12 rated movie.

  6. Heidi, I'd say that's not being got back half enough, about another three Kung-Fu Panda's might do it!
    x Abby
    p.s. and you're talking about THAT scene. Ok, that's actually the one thing that probably saved the film for me...can't say i was mad about it which is why I feel such sympathy for your son!

  7. When I saw this movie up on the weepie list over at Natalie Anderson's blog I wondered, quite frankly, why? How could this story be compared to classics such as Love Story, The Bridges of Madison County and so forth?
    I read the book because...well because the whole country was talking about it and I didn't want to be left out. I didn't like what I read. Friends persuaded me to go see it in the cinema and I only agreed cos of Gerard.
    And he didn't disappoint. And I agree Heidi, the Irish accent was a tad suss but it was Gerard and he was wearing boxers so who cares?
    The film resemebled the book in about two ways, one: Gerry dies, two: he leaves Holly notes. That's it, nothing else has been kept. Needless to say, I didn't like the film much either but I would choose it over the book. (Again, this would be thanks to Gerard).
    And I did try to cry, honestly, I wanted to blend in with the girls who were in hysterics beside me but nothing, nada. Thought Lisa Kudrow had some fabulous one liners but they weren't enough to keep me that interested. Hilary was well cast, she's believable in these kind of roles but I'm afraid the film did very little for me.
    Did I mention that I quite liked Gerard in his boxers though??


  8. Ha, Abby, have you actually seen Kung Fu Panda? I mean I love Jack Black but as a kung-fu fighting panda? Na-uh

    And Aideen, I have to admit I can cry at anything. I even teared up in The Bratz Movie. So it wasn't too much of a chore for me, plus the Irish accent had already got me going.. Not to mention those boxers.

  9. I really don't love Jack Black. Kung Fu Panda is a nightmarish prospect!

    Jeffrey Dean Morgan, btw, has already been a Male on Monday. Trish liked the way he died in some thing or other I believe. You should be able to find it on the blog.

  10. Darn, I might have guessed Trish would have nabbed Jeffrey already!

    And while I'll give you Jack Black is a bit of a one-trick pony I fell in love with him sticking it to the Man in School of Rock. Nothing like taking your kids to a movie and laughing more yourself.

  11. Heidi I haven't seen Kung-Fu panda...and no you can't drag me to it as punishment in San Francisco!
    Looking forward to seeing you there.
    x Abby