Louise Harrington (Laura Linney), a divorced, thirty-something admissions officer at Columbia University's School of Fine Arts is intelligent, pretty, successful, and. . . unfulfilled. When an application crosses her desk and she arranges to interview the young painter, Scott Feinstadt (Topher Grace), she is struck by the uncanny resemblance he bears to Louise's high school boyfriend and one true love, an artist who died in a car accident twenty years earlier. Within hours, Louise and Scott embark on a passionately uninhibited affair. But Louise's best friend from high school, Missy (Marcia Gay Harden), shows up to claim the affections of the boy, and there's more trouble from Louise's co-dependent ex-husband Peter (Gabriel Byrne) as well as her cynical mother (Lois Smith), plus fresh-out-of-rehab brother (Paul Rudd).
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Any fan of Laura Linney's work will need no encouragement to enjoy this articulate and sensitive film, which does everything right - where Birth did everything wrong, in vaguely similar territory. Linney draws us into her emotional world so firmly that we identify with her in every way. This is also part of director Dylan Kidd's talent, as he structures the film so that we are immersed in her point of view, but it never crosses the line into spiritual mumbo jumbo. The screenplay specifically discounts that with dialogue that puts us at ease. Yet there is something that connects between Louise and Scott, and thanks to Topher Grace, we understand that, too.
As Kidd takes us through the tensions of the various relationships around the central characters - Louise and her ex, Peter (Gabriel Byrne) and Missy (Marcia Gay Harden) in particular - we see inside all these people and how the past remains part of their present. Scott, of course, represents the present, and he rebels against being tied to the person Louise imagines him to be. This is a wonderfully written and directed scene, sparse yet complete.
Based on Helen Schilman's novel, Kidd's script retains some of the astringent aspects of the Louise-Missy relationship that few men would venture to write. Their truthfulness is both shocking and reassuring. But this relationship is the real core of the film's theme; this is where love is tested most.
As the film moves to the resolution, there is drama and laughter in equal measure, and the resolution itself is a fully satisfying, intelligent unravelling of the tightly coiled ball of wool that is P.S.
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CAST: Laura Linney, Topher Grace, Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, Paul Rudd, Lois Smith
PRODUCER: Anne Chaisson, John Hart, Robert Kessell, Jeff Sharp
DIRECTOR: Dylan Kidd
SCRIPT: Dylan Kidd (novel by Helen Schulman)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Joaquin Baca-Asay
EDITOR: Kate Sanford
MUSIC: Craig Wedren
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stephen Beatrice
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Dendy
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 1, 2005