P.S. (film)

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P.S. film poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed by Dylan Kidd
Produced by Jeffrey Sharp
Starring Topher Grace
Laura Linney
Edited by Kate Sanford
Distributed by Newmarket Films
Release date
October 15, 2004 (2004-10-15)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $180,503[1] (USA)

P.S. is a 2004 drama film directed by Dylan Kidd. The screenplay by Kidd and Helen Schulman is based on Schulman's 2001 novel p.s. The film stars Laura Linney and Topher Grace.

Plot summary[edit]

Thirty-nine-year old divorcée Louise Harrington (Linney) works in the admissions office at Columbia University School of the Arts. She is unnerved when she receives an application from F. Scott Feinstadt (Grace), the same name of her high school sweetheart who was killed in a car crash, and calls the student to arrange an interview. His appearance, mannerisms, and painting style closely resemble those of her former love, and she begins to suspect the young artist may be the reincarnation of her old flame. Hours after meeting, the two embark upon an affair. Also complicating Louise's life are her relationship with her ex-husband Peter (Gabriel Byrne), who confesses he is learning to cope with a sex addiction that, unknown to her, plagued their marriage; her ne'er-do-well brother Sammy (Paul Rudd), who is favored by their mother Ellie (Lois Smith) despite his shortcomings; and her best friend Missy (Marcia Gay Harden), who stole the original Scott from Louise before his death and seems intent on doing the same with the contemporary version.

Principal cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

On the DVD release of the film, director Dylan Kidd explains how cuts in the film changed the character of Louise. He opted to remove a scene depicting F. Scott living at home with his mother because he felt it bestowed upon him a lack of maturity he didn't want him to display. In that same scene, however, Louise confessed to being only an administrative assistant responsible for mailing catalogues and arranging campus tours rather than the director of admissions she had led the young man to believe she was. Deleting the scene necessitated making other cuts for the sake of continuity. On the DVD, Kidd also includes a deleted scene set in a cafe where Louise and F. Scott became better acquainted following their initial meeting and preceding their first sexual encounter in her apartment. Kidd had excised it due to time constraints but admits it made Louise look like less of a predator than she did without it.

The soundtrack includes the songs "These Flowers" and "When the Day Is Short," written and performed by Martha Wainwright.

The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival. It was shown at the Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Austin Film Festival, and Edmonton International Film Festival before being given a limited theatrical release in the US, where it grossed $180,503.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The film received mostly mixed reviews by critics, having a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times:

"a would-be romance etched in acid and loathing... an appalling collection of clichés and stereotypes... What's disheartening about the film isn't its contempt for its central character in specific and for women of a certain age in general, or the screenplay's silly swerve into the supernatural or how the direction shows none of the energy of Mr. Kidd's first feature. What's disheartening is that an actress as fine as Ms. Linney has to endure the indignity of such excremental nonsense... while [she] easily negotiates the story's emotional and narrative switchbacks, sliding from fury to hurt like rain on a window, a living, breathing, believable human being from such a shabbily patched-together conceit."[3]

Carla Meyer of San Francisco Chronicle:

"Filmmaker Dylan Kidd assayed male-arrested development quite brilliantly in 2002's Roger Dodger, and at some moments, his follow-up film hints at a scabrous female reinterpretation. But Kidd and co-writer Helen Schulman... smooth every edge, and P.S. goes disappointingly soft despite two dynamite lead performances." [4]

Peter Travers of Rolling Stone awarded the film three out of a possible four stars and commented:

"Dylan Kidd, making good on the promise of his 2002 debut with Roger Dodger, delivers a sexy, funny surprise package that resonates with long-buried emotions. Grace, away from the sitcom slick of That '70s Show, shows killer charm and rare sensitivity. But [it] . . . is Linney's show, and she makes it hilarious and haunting."[5]

Roger Ebert of Ebert and Roeper also awarded the film three out of four stars and compared the film to Birth, also released in 2004:

"Both films are fascinating because they require us to see the younger character through two sets of eyes – our own, which witness an attractive woman drawn to a younger male, and the women's, which see a lost love in a new container."

Metacritic.com gave the film a 55 out of 100, with mixed or average reviews based on 28 critics.[6]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Laura Linney was nominated for the Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama, and she shared Best Actress honors with Emmanuelle Devos at the Mar del Plata Film Festival, where the film was nominated for Best Picture. Topher Grace won the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award for Best Breakthrough Performance by an Actor for this film and In Good Company. The film was also nominated for the Artios Award at the Casting Society of America for Best Casting in an Independent Feature Film.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]