I don’t know how Hilary Swank got hooked up with Richard LaGravenese, but if she’s serious about having a lucrative career beyond those two Best Actress wins, she couldn’t have picked a better collaborator. The writer of The Bridges of Madison County, The Horse Whisperer, The Mirror Has Two Faces and Living Out Loud is an ace at scriptin’ for broads; at his best (and I consider those first two titles to be well above-average), he infuses potentially mawkish material with a measure of restraint and intellect. And while it’s been a while since he was associated with anything worth discussing, this is the man who wrote The Ref. We like him.
This is why LaGravanese is so fascinating to me: how can a guy capable of something so acerbic evince such a soft touch? Did he get all of the bile out of his system with that one script, or did he just stop caring too much? There is real pain in The Bridges of Madison County and The Horse Whisperer, but there’s nothing reminiscent of the rage and satire of Ted Demme’s Christmas classic. Nowadays, LaGravenese seems comfortable and well-adjusted; he’s a studio guy, and that’s alright with him.
But keep The Ref in mind as you watch this absurdly appealing trailer for P.S. I Love You; the man who once played dirty with Kevin Spacey, Judy Davis and Denis Leary has now been tasked with selling an almost feminine Hilary Swank to mainstream moviegoers. Will they buy it? With Gerard Butler playing the deceased husband who teaches her how to live from beyond the grave, does it matter? If this doesn’t wind up breaking $100 million, Warner Brothers did something very, very wrong.
P.S. I Love You opens December 21st. Married guys, the only way you’ll avoid this one is divorce.