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  Publicity Stills of "P.S."
Courtesy of Cathay-Keris Films

Genre: Drama/Romance
Director: Dylan Kidd
Starring: Laura Linney, Topher Grace, Paul Rudd, Lois Smith, Gabriel Byrne, Marica Gay Harden
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Rating: M18 (Sexual Scene)

Opening Day: 21 September 2006


Louise Harrington, a divorced thirty-something admissions officer at the prestigious Columbia University School of the Arts is intelligent, pretty, successful and yet unfulfilled. That is until a graduate school application crosses her desk and she arranges to interview the young painter.

When Scott Feinstadt appears, he bears an uncanny resemblance to Louise's high school boyfriend and one true love, an artist who died in a car accident twenty years earlier. Within hours of the interview, Louise and Scott have embarked on a passionately uninhibited older woman/younger man affair. But is Scott just a reminder of Louise's lost love? And is Scott just trying to wheedle his way into the Ivy League?

Movie Review:

Armed with a smile that breaks down the age barriers, Laura Linney plays Louise Harrington, a divorcee and the head admissions officer in Columbia University's School of Fine Arts. Louise carries herself with a nervous poise of simmering neurosis and unrelenting emotions, amidst an agitated yearning to rediscover the love she lost long ago in her youth. When opportunity plumps itself down in her office chair, she grabs on to it whilst donning the Mrs. Robinson vestures of orienting a young smooth talking, wisecracking applicant named F.Scott Fienstadt (Topher Grace).

But she is just a lonely woman, not a sexual predator. When she recognises the amazing similarities between F.Scott and her dead childhood sweetheart, she daringly and uncharacteristically pounces on the chance to rekindle that feeling of vitality and untainted romance with the boy who is not yet familiar with the painful details of adult relationships. As the coincidences between the past and present Scott pile up, inhibitions between them rile down.

The metaphysical head-trip premise disguises itself as something profound and needlessly stretches the elastic reality of odd parallelisms of pasts and futures, the young and not so young. In a rehash of her lovelorn role in “Love Actually”, Linney gives out the same unaffected quality of being the lone obstinate witness to her life’s incurably major highs and manic lows, crafting quite a well-worn niche for herself. In yet another rehash, Grace uses the same self-assured charms and fragile self-deprecating wit, synonymous with his familiar role as Eric Forman in television’s “That 70s Show” to similar effect in his role as the confident but underdeveloped role as Louise’s young paramour.

“P.S.” straddles the very fine line between dialogue-driven drivel and absorbing extracts of latent epiphanies. The age gap is not the essential question mark that needs to be addressed. It’s not even the ethical and professional quandaries they find themselves in. It’s the why and how of their emotionally stunted relationship. Is it lust? Or perhaps just a spring fling? But they do cross the line and then some. And it was definitely an affair to remember, complete with the awkward first full-fledged, and brief sex scene followed by several moments of pert, furtive glances.

While failing to reach the emotional climax of their staggered relationship, the film chooses to go off tangent to explore Louise’s constitutional makeup in its convoluted strains of unresolved, uninteresting middle-aged adults problems relating to family and friends. It is interested in the duality of things, the ambivalence of youth and of aging. As much as there are similarities between her 2 Scotts, there are also key differences between them. Just as there are when discerning the multitudes of supporting characters in the film and in Louise while she gradually discovers closure and explores new openings in her life.

“Birth” gave us unnerving looks at lost love and the unacceptable quest to rediscover it, while in “Prime”, we see that happiness and sadness were part of life’s interchangeable glories. In contrast, “P.S.” gives off a light, slightly offhand bouquet of a floundering middle-aged woman desperately seeking an avenue for emotional growth which is well intentioned but turns out to be ultimately unsatisfying.

Movie Rating:

(An imprecise study of a female mid-life crisis that does not resonate the sort of poignancy and romanticism that it strives for)

Review by Justin Deimen

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