- Jun 13, 2002
P.S. I Love You (Blu-Ray)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Rated: PG-13 (Sexual references and brief nudity.)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
HD Encoding: 1080p
HD Video Codec: VC-1
Audio: Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1; Dolby Digital French 5.1, Spanish 5.1
Subtitles: English; French; Spanish
Time: 127 minutes
Disc Format: 1 SS/SL Blu-Ray disc.
Case Style: Keepcase
Theatrical Release Date: 2007
Blu Ray Release Date: May 6, 2008
Why does Hollywood find it so hard to make decent romance movies anymore? As I have said about sci-fi pictures in the past, romance movies quickly get pegged as hybrids, i.e. “rom-com’s” and when the emotion starts flowing, we instantly get diverted into a gag. What’s so wrong with just letting us feel for the characters and their stories without making us laugh as well as cry? Director/ screen writer Richard LaGravenese (along with co-writer Steven Rogers) make a valiant effort to let us work through Holly Kennedy’s (Hillary Swank) breakdown with her. Holly and her hubby, Gerry (300’s Abs of Steel poster child Gerard Butler, going in a complete opposite direction here, thankfully) are barely-middle class Gothamites who may or may not be ready to have kids. They argue about this topic, as well as their housing situation, and what have you only to quickly and passionately make up. These two define soul mates in the best sense of the term and they let us know it. But then, about fifteen minutes in, we’re thrust into a wake for Gerry, who has tragically died from a brain tumor.
Holly, devastated, shuts down her life to grieve, belting out Judy Garland tunes while dancing about in garbage filled her apartment. Her mother and two best friends (Kathy Bates, Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon) barge into Holly’s depression to celebrate her 30th birthday, cake and all. When they go to open the cake, Holly finds a tape recorder with a note that says “Play Me”. She does, and she is confronted with Gerry’s voice who tells her to live her life and he’s going to help her in the form of letters and other goodies. Holly receives the letters, one telling her to karaoke, and subsequent ones send her on trips with oh-so- coincidental meetings. Gerry’s goal is to pull Holly through his death without the use of pottery wheels or unchained melodies, and in doing so he hopes to inspire in her a desire to live a new life and that future love actually is possible.
Love, Actually and Ghost similarities aside (and it may be a bit of a stretch anyhow), the story maintains the gut wrenching despair felt by Holly for the most part. I questioned the 127 minute length of the movie after I had initially watched it, but now I feel much more comfortable with it as it allowed us to watch this girl fall apart and rebuild in good time. The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Cecelia Ahern and it is touted as the recent darling of the chick-lit genre. That is not to say we’re all weepy here, and having never read the book, I believe LaGravenese has remained true the original story (although there were some changes for the film). The rub in the whole thing to me was it never allows the darkness of some of the subject matter (death from cancer, abandonment of friendships in favor of depression) to linger too long; the audience doesn’t want to be too melancholy, so make a joke, quick! Having lived through the deaths of two family members from cancer, some of the best healing is to just dwell in those pits of despair until you’re good and ready to get out. Once you do, you come out with an individual strength that is formidable and a new found lease on life. While it is certainly important to keep you’re friends and family close in those times, laughter isn’t always the best medicine. The cast and creators seem to be on-board with the weighty subject matter, and Swank, as usual, is eager to provide, but you sense the workings of the marketing machine when the picture closes.
Note: I am watching this title using a Marantz VP 11-S1 DLP projector, which has a native resolution of 1080p. I am using a Sony Playstation 3 Blu-Ray player while a Denon 3808CI does the switching and pass through of the video signal. I am utilizing the HDMI capabilities of each piece of equipment.
The Blu-Ray disc is in the VC-1 codec presented at 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The picture is very colorful without becoming too garish or bold. The scenes in Ireland really pop with lush greens, and Holly’s outfit she’s wearing when she meets Gerry is a fine way to test how well your display can keep colors sharp and separate. Flesh tones are accurate and show some nice detail in the close-up’s. Black levels are deep and inky with good shadow delineation. Sharpness and detail were good but the picture seems to have been shot just a bit soft, which is fine with me as it provides a much more film-like appearance. I noticed just a slight amount of edge enhancement, but it was not overbearing.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack was attained by the HDMI connection of the Sony Playstation 3 to the Denon 3808CI.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track provides a serviceable soundtrack, but the picture is dialogue heavy and tends to stay in the front channels. Surrounds perk up during the club scenes where the music spreads out to provide us a bit of a soundstage. Otherwise they’re used for ambience and they don’t add to the overall viewing experience. LFE’s show up at the same time the surrounds kick in and remain subtle otherwise. Fidelity was good providing clear and natural sounds and vocals.
Usually I break down bonus material by each piece, but what is here really doesn’t warrant much time. We get an eight minute piece with Ahern but it only made me want a full commentary track with her to explain the differences in the novel and them movie. I guess I could just read the book and make up my own. There are twelve minutes of deleted scenes, which were rightfully excised, including the only appearance of a cancer stricken Gerry. This scene, while almost startling in its impact, completely kills the mood and tone of the overall picture. We also get a four and a half minute on how to play “Snaps” (don’t ask) and a James Blunt video of his song that is played over the closing credits.
The main thing I walked took away from my viewing of P.S. I Love You is that I actually found a James Blunt song I liked and I’m only slightly embarrassed to admit it. The movie, however, is a rocket blast of pure of emotion that will affect you one way or another. Warner’s BD provides a nice video presentation, a mediocre audio track and a pathetic bit of extras.