Friday, March 17, 2017

P.S. The Book Was Better

P. S. I Love You
Director: Richard LaGravenese
Cast: Hilary Swank, Gerald Butler, Kathy Bates, Harry Connick Jr., Lisa Kudrow, Gina Gershon, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
Released: December 21, 2007
Viewed in theaters: December 23, 2007

This is a perfect example of a perfectly acceptable book being turned into a crap movie. I saw this movie in the theater because I had read the book two years prior and had enjoyed it. It is the first book by Cecelia Ahern who wrote it when she was only twenty-one years old. She is the daughter of Bertie Ahern, a former Prime Minister of Ireland, so I have no doubt that helped her launch her writing career! I've read many of her books and many of them very whimsical. For the most part, I have really liked getting lost in her novels. They're just mindless fun. 

The only book of hers I really don't like is If You Could See Me Now which is about a 30-year-old woman's childhood invisible friend coming to life and only she and her young nephew can see him and she doesn't know he's invisible to everyone else. I was thinking there was going to be some kind of Fight Club-esque twist where this was all in the woman's mind, but nope, the invisible friend was actually real and worked with other invisible friends. (Cut me a break...this was only the second Cecelia Ahern book I had read so I didn't know how whimsical she could get!) And she falls in love with her invisible friend, so ick! Totally creeped me out! 

The Gift is Ahern's take on A Christmas Carol as it is set around the holiday season and one of the few times where her main character is male. He is a rich businessman and he meets a homeless man outside the building where he works and offers him a job. This one has an interesting twist that lets the busy working man spend more time with his family thanks to the homeless man. 

Then you have There's No Place Like Here which is about a 30-year-old woman (you will soon notice that all of Ahern's protagonists are all 30 or thereabouts) who is obsessed with finding missing things and works with people who want to be reunited with long lost loved ones. This was the fourth Ahern book I had read so by this time I was used to her whimsical and quirky story lines. She ends up in a location aptly named Here (I am not joking!) and it's where all the missing people go. If this had been my first Ahern book I had read, I would have thought this was a weird purgatory where all the people who have been adducted and killed gathered. But no, that would be much too dark for Ahern's writing. The whole thing was just weird. Interesting, but weird. 

The Time of My Life is about a, yep, you guessed it, 30-year-old woman who finds herself stuck in a rut with family problems, boyfriend problems, and job problems. She finds out that her Life wants to meet with her. Her Life is an actual person, a man, oddly enough. (You would think if your life was another person, it would at least be the same gender as you!) I didn't mind that her life was a this universe it is normal, but it didn't make sense that her life had his own life too. Someone asked him if he was allowed to have a girlfriend and he said yes. How does that even work? Would that mean she would have a girlfriend as well as her new boyfriend? Luckily that doesn't happen but it is so weird. I think Ahern wanted to make him his own person but it got in that weird territory where a lot of things didn't make sense. I give her props for trying something new and it was a charming, original story. 

The Book of Tomorrow actually has a 17-year-old spoiled teen as the main character and she finds a book that tells her what's going to happen the next day and uses it to her advantage. From this she finds out her real dad, who she had thought had died in a fire, never died at all. That's all I really remember. 

Thanks for the Memories is really weird. It's about a woman who falls in love with the guy who donated blood to her after a terrible accident and because she has his blood, she's able to see his life...yeah, I know very weird! They fall in love but it takes forever for them to meet even though you know it's going to happen. 

So those are all the books of hers I have read. I would say that The Gift, The Time of My Life, and P.S. I Love You are my favorites. Despite being super weird, There's No Place Like Here was pretty interesting. The rest are either meh to non memorable, but If You Could See Me Now is the worst. There's also a handful I haven't read.

Ironically, P.S. I Love You is probably the most realistic of all of Ahern's novels (the ones I've read anyway). There are no people with magical abilities or invisible people or books that predict the future or made up places. It's just a straight-forward story about a married couple, Holly (Hilary Swank) and Gerry (Gerald Butler). He dies from a brain tumor and leaves behind messages for his widow, one for each month and encourages her to do things to stay strong. The book, like all of Ahern's novels, is set in Ireland, obviously as she is Irish herself. This was set in New York, so Swank does not have an Irish accent. I really hate it when a book that is set in a country that is not America is made into a movie and then the city is changed into a big American city. I guess I understand because probably it will sell more tickets. To me, the casting of Hilary Swank in this didn't work for me. I'm used to seeing her in these dramatic movies and this film, despite the fact that one of the main character dies, is a fairly light and frothy movie. I think someone like a Reese Witherspoon or Kate Hudson would have worked better (you know, if they had to absolutely keep it set in the U.S.). I defintely feel like this movie was only made for the people who had read the book because if you hadn't read the book, you would probably be going, what is going on? The first scene starts with Holly and Gerry arguing in this long drawn out scene that goes on forever (and by God, she is super annoying...I'm surprised he stayed married for her for ten years or however long they were together!) By the end, they have made up and are making out.

Then, in a new scene, we're at a funeral and it turns out it's Gerry's! What the huh! Of course I knew this was coming up because I had read the book. (Oh, I suppose you would know it you saw the previews...I don't think they keep it a huge secret that he dies, but still! His death comes out of nowhere!) Now I don't have the book....I lent it to someone and never got it back (insert angry emoji here) so I don't have it to see how things differ. I'll just have to look it up online like I do for all my other reviews!

I do remember in the book, Holly receives one message from her husband beyond the grave each month for one year. In the movie, it was more like one per season. They definitely cut out a lot of the letters he left for her.

Is it bad that all I could think of throughout this movie is that I bet their friends wished it had been Holly who had died instead of Gerry? He was obviously the more fun one, the life of the party while Holly was more uptight and needed to take a chill pill. Although, since Gerry is from Ireland (at least one character is from the country of origin!), that would mean Holly has known their friends the longest. They are much more fleshed out in the book, obviously, as is her family.

Holly's 30th (of course!) birthday is not long after Gerry's death and she's still mourning him when her mom (played by Kathy Bates) and friends come over to surprise her with a cake and presents. The cake comes with a recorded message from Gerry telling her she's going to be receiving messages from him and he doesn't want her trying to figure out how he's doing this (the real reason for this is they never explain how a dead man set this up months in advance. Yes, I realize he knew he was going to die, but obviously people were involved in this, but yet Holly's mom and friends are all shocked by this, so we never have any idea who was helping him as the movie never says. I can't remember if they reveal it in the book).

The first letter is fairly simple and just tells Holly to buy a lamp for the bedside table. I remember this from the book. Whoever was the last up had to turn off the overhead light and that person would usually stub their toe. How can you have a bedside table, but not a lamp? Gerry signed it, like he did with all his other letters, "P.S. I Love You". The next letter tells her to buy a new outfit so she can wear it when she sings a karaoke song and overcome her anxiety of that. We see a flashback where Jerry goaded Holly into singing and she does, but ends up breaking some bones when she trips into the wires of the karaoke machine. Then there's a letter where Gerry has planned a trip to Ireland for Holly and her two friends (played by Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon) and her friends find letters from Gerry at the little cottage they stay at. Holly meets a guy named William (William Dean Morgan) and it is so obvious she has a type because this guy is not only Irish, like Gerry was, but also looks similar to him with the same build and coloring. They end up sleeping together and Holly is SHOCKED and MORTIFIED when she finds out that William knew Gerry. Well, duh! Any idiot could have figured out that. One of the requests Gerry gave to them was to go to a pub and see the performers. William was one of them and he ended up singing a song that touched one of Holly's nerves. It was a song that Gerry would often sing to her, so obviously he had called up his friend William and asked him to sing it when Holly and her friends would be there. But the kicker is that William had no idea that the woman he had slept with was the same one he had played for a couple nights earlier - just how drunk was he to not remember that?

I don't remember William from the book, although obviously she didn't go on a trip to Ireland since she already lived there. However, I do remember the character of Daniel who is played by Harry Connick Jr. There is a small spark between them, but once they do kiss, the realize it's like kissing their brother/sister, so really, what was the point of that character?

One of Holly's last letters from Gerry is him telling her to get a new job. I think she's a real estate agent, but she hates it, so she decides she's going to design shoes! And she's a huge success! Uh huh. (And her dad wasn't even the President!) The movie ends with her finding closure with Gerry's death as he writes in his last letter that he wants her to find love again and it looks like she will...with his good friend and lookalike, William!

Ugh, I hated this movie! The only good thing about it was that it introduced me to the song "Love You Til The End" by The Pogues which I really like. Who knows if I would even still like the book if I ever read it again...though I'm sure it would still be better than the movie! 


  1. Well, I wouldn't agree completely since I loved the movie and both the actors are my favorites. The movie is in fact one of my all time favs.