Saturday, September 30, 2006

P.S. (2004)

P.S.I'm not sure if P.S. was ever released in UK cinemas. British stockists have this film listed as a 2006 release, but I don't recall it being reviewed, and other sources (imdb and film festival awards) indicate it was actually released in 2004.

The truth is that, despite starring the rarely-less-than-brilliant Laura Linney and being an official selection at several film festivals, it seems to have pretty much dropped like the proverbial stone.

It's a hard film to classify. On the surface it's a rom-com, but that's a label that usually implies a formulaic, light, rather ridiculous 'girl meets boy and eventually lives happily ever after' story. And P.S. doesn't really fit that category - it's far too well written for that.

Linney plays Louise Harrington, an intelligent, pretty, successful admissions officer who's never found happiness, partly due to losing the love of her life when she was at High School. Then a new student (played by Topher Grace) with the same name as her dead former muse applies for a University place and she decides to interview him, finding he not only looks like her lover from 20 years ago, but appears to be his reincarnation on every possible level. She becomes as smitten with him as she had been back in High School when she put her life on permanent hold, but struggles with being attracted to someone half her age and the idea that she can actually have a happy life.

One of the best things about the film, aside from Linney's excellent performance, and some real chemistry between her and her much younger co-star, is the way it doesn't feel it has to spell everything out. There's a wonderful subtle quality to the writing, with a cast that is thankfully able to convey that subtlety. And yet... somehow the film doesn't quite click, and I'm really not sure why, other than perhaps there isn't that much in the way of a lot of story-telling here.

The picture quality is fine, given the low budget nature of the film, and the inclusion of a DTS sound track as well as the usual Dolby Digital one seems somewhat over-the-top given the material. It's nice to see a booklet with film notes and chapter index included, but other than that the only extra is a commentary from the director and his director of photography, and it's a pretty dull affair. If you want something that doesn't spoon-feed you and assumes it's being watched by an intelligent audience, this is definitely worth a rental, but it's hard to see it being the sort of film you'd particularly want to watch again.

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