P.S. I Love You
When an Irish-American man dies of a brain tumor, his widow (Hilary Swank) tries to withdraw into her grief—but her late husband (Gerard Butler) has anticipated that, and made plans to prevent it. Swank’s raw, genuine performance stands out—like an emerald on a compost heap—against the canned warmth of the script by Steven Rogers and director Richard LaGravenese (from Cecelia Ahern’s novel). Butler’s role (he appears mostly in Swank’s flashbacks and fantasies) is merely a plot device, a series of twee tics of blarney straight out of an Irish Spring commercial. Other good actors are likewise stranded—Kathy Bates as Swank’s mother, Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon as her gal pals (though Kudrow gets some mileage out of a running “Are you single?” gag), and Harry Connick Jr. as a frustrated suitor.