***WARNING***This review is in the prewriting stages. We'll see if I ever get back to it. Part of me wants to be a movie reviewer when I grow up, so I'm giving it a go. But it is harder than it looks, so I've decided to move on.I always have to roll my eyes when I find on the back cover of a movie "Heartwarming tale that will make you laugh and cry," or any other variation on the expression. Ninety-nine percent of romantic comedies boast their ability to evoke these emotions. Last night, however, I watched a movie during which I did BOTH AT THE SAME TIME! Even my trusty rarely-laughs-during-a-romantic-comedy sidekick Andy really enjoyed the movie. It will make you laugh and cry, and probably both at the same time.
In the opening scene, the dynamics of their relationship are summed up in the fight they have. Holly, played by Hilary Swank of Million Dollar Baby fame, is the stressed-out worrisome responsible wife, matched with the funny, easy-going Irishman Jerry (Gerard Butler with the remnants of his smoking hot 300 body). Holly cannot exist without a plan, and Jerry never has one. Despite their differences, they are very much in love. Jerry is smitten with Holly, and Holly cannot live without Jerry's ability to put humor into life. And then he dies, leaving Holly to try to live her life without him, a feat she finds impossible with everything left behind, his clothes in the closet, his voice in her head. Holly holes herself up in the apartment she hates until her friends arrive on her thirtieth birthday to cheer her up. Arriving shortly after them is a message from Jerry. Her friends, played by Lisa Kudrow and Gina Gershon, each have their own humorous sidestories. Kathy Bates is excellent as always playing Holly's tough-as-nails mother, whose own husband left her.
It is a movie of beginnings and endings, layering Holly and Jerry's life together with her mourning process. Jerry stays with Holly after his death by leaving her letters in an attempt to help her get over him. It really makes me excited to read the book, which will be different enough from the movie, partially because it takes place in Ireland rather than New York City.