P.S.


Directed by: Dylan Kidd
Written by:Dylan Kidd
Starring: Laura Linney, Topher Grace, Gabriel Byrne, Marcia Gay Harden, Paul Rudd
Released: September 1, 2005
Grade: A-

A simple college application will change the life of lecturer Louise Harrington (Linney).  The year’s admissions are already being processed at Columbia University but Louise stumbles across an opened submission in her office.  The name on the front is F. Scott Feinstadt.

It’s an unusual name and one you wouldn’t come across too often.  For Louise however, it’s a name which sets off a flood of long forgotten memories.  F. Scott Feinstadt was a boyfriend of Louise back when she was teenager.  Tragically though, he was killed and Louise was left with the pain that comes with a departed loved one.  How is it then that someone has the exact same name and just so happens to have come into Louise’s path?  Is it destiny?  Overcome with a wave of differing emotions, Louise calls and sets up an immediate interview with F. Scott (Grace).

When he arrives, the Laura starts thinking that this is no coincidence.  This cocky teenager looks and acts exactly the same as the F. Scott which Louise remembers from 20 years ago.  Her best friend Missy (Harden) confirms that she’s not hallucinating – she too sees the remarkable similarity.

Having not had a relationship since her divorce several years ago, Louise finds herself drawn to the new F. Scott and he reciprocates her feelings.  There’s some great scenes where they open up about themselves and share their interests and desires.  Louise though, does not give up the big secret.  She wants to keep the illusion alive that this some reincarnated version of long lost love.  

I enjoyed the film a lot but could see myself being very cynical if not in the best of moods.  It’s a romantic fantasy that could be seen either as a sweet mystery and a silly farce.  What drew me into the film were the great performances from Topher Grace (In Good Company) and especially Laura Linney (Primal Fear).  You sense the bond between them but also the uncomfortableness that comes with such an unexpected romance.

There’s some comedy too amongst the romance with a hilariously unexpected revelation coming from Louise’s ex-husband (played by Gabriel Byrne).  It created a noticeable stir at my screening and woke those who were dosing off after a long day.  You’ll know the scene when you see it, trust me.

I caught P.S. as one of the showcase films at this year’s Brisbane International Film Festival.  It wasn’t just the great cast but also the lure of an up-and-coming director which helped secure my attendance.  Writer/director Dylan Kidd made 2002’s Roger Dodger, a small film about a naive teenager who is taken for a wild night on the town by his womanising uncle.  Having now seen two Kidd films, I realise he’s a smart writer.  His characters are intelligent and they speak with great wit.  He’s a subtler version of Woody Allen.