Armed with a smile that breaks down the age barriers, Laura Linney plays Louise Harrington, a divorcee and the head admissions officer in Columbia University's School of Fine Arts. Louise carries herself with a nervous poise of simmering neurosis and unrelenting emotions, amidst an agitated yearning to rediscover the love she lost long ago in her youth. When opportunity plumps itself down in her office chair, she grabs on to it whilst donning the Mrs. Robinson vestures of orienting a young smooth talking, wisecracking applicant named F.Scott Fienstadt (Topher Grace).
But she is just a lonely woman, not a sexual predator. When she recognises the amazing similarities between F.Scott and her dead childhood sweetheart, she daringly and uncharacteristically pounces on the chance to rekindle that feeling of vitality and untainted romance with the boy who is not yet familiar with the painful details of adult relationships. As the coincidences between the past and present Scott pile up, inhibitions between them rile down.
The metaphysical head-trip premise disguises itself as something profound and needlessly stretches the elastic reality of odd parallelisms of pasts and futures, the young and not so young. In a rehash of her lovelorn role in Love Actually, Linney gives out the same unaffected quality of being the lone obstinate witness to her lifes incurably major highs and manic lows, crafting quite a well-worn niche for herself. In yet another rehash, Grace uses the same self-assured charms and fragile self-deprecating wit, synonymous with his familiar role as Eric Forman in televisions That 70s Show to similar effect in his role as the confident but underdeveloped role as Louises young paramour.
P.S. straddles the very fine line between dialogue-driven drivel and absorbing extracts of latent epiphanies. The age gap is not the essential question mark that needs to be addressed. Its not even the ethical and professional quandaries they find themselves in. Its the why and how of their emotionally stunted relationship. Is it lust? Or perhaps just a spring fling? But they do cross the line and then some. And it was definitely an affair to remember, complete with the awkward first full-fledged, and brief sex scene followed by several moments of pert, furtive glances.
While failing to reach the emotional climax of their staggered relationship, the film chooses to go off tangent to explore Louises constitutional makeup in its convoluted strains of unresolved, uninteresting middle-aged adults problems relating to family and friends. It is interested in the duality of things, the ambivalence of youth and of aging. As much as there are similarities between her 2 Scotts, there are also key differences between them. Just as there are when discerning the multitudes of supporting characters in the film and in Louise while she gradually discovers closure and explores new openings in her life.
Birth gave us unnerving looks at lost love and the unacceptable quest to rediscover it, while in Prime, we see that happiness and sadness were part of lifes interchangeable glories. In contrast, P.S. gives off a light, slightly offhand bouquet of a floundering middle-aged woman desperately seeking an avenue for emotional growth which is well intentioned but turns out to be ultimately unsatisfying.
** out of *****
(An imprecise study of a female mid-life crisis that does not resonate the sort of poignancy and romanticism that it strives for)