Louise Harrington (Laura Linney) works in the admission’s department at Columbia University. When the divorced thirtysomething gets an application from an emo-type in Rhode Island, she’s reminded of an old boyfriend who died in a horrible car accident. The similarities are incredible: both are named Scott Feinstadt, both like to paint, and both look like Topher Grace. A colleague rightfully refers to Dylan Kidd’s P.S. as a straight version of Birth. The film begins promisingly as a mystical intersection of past and present: In the Grace’s artwork, Kidd evokes a possible transference of spirits, and it’s the return of the living dead that allows Louise to sort through the baggage of her semi-damaged life, which includes an ex-husband (Gabriel Byrne) who’s a sex addict and a brother (Paul Rudd) who likes pie. Mannered as usual, Linney’s performance is nonetheless a graceful evocation of midlife crisis. And though Kidd’s direction is by and large inert, at least compared to his work in Roger Dodger, he manages a few lovely scenarios, especially a scene at a pool hall where Louise begins to act like a jealous schoolgirl. But after an hour or so, Kidd seemingly takes a cue from his lead character when she says something to the effect that the story’s mysticism is too much for her. It’s here that Marcia Gay Harden enters screen and P.S. turns into Desperate Housewives. From mystical to trashy, the film’s shift in hysteria wouldn’t be so bad if Kidd treated coincidence as a form of abstract art or took the desires of his female characters a little more seriously.
As lovely as Laura Linney looks in many of the film's close-ups (especially during the scenes where she talks with Marcia Gay Harden and Topher Grace's characters over the phone), the textures of the color palette leave plenty to be desired. If I may provide an extremely "gay" example: The overall softness of the camerawork works to the film's advantage, but the pink rouge on Linney's face more accurately blends into the rest of her face on the DVD's cover. The audio department is equally serviceable-your world won't be rocked, but dialogue is clear and the track boasts some occasionally accurate surrounds (like, say, when Grace is heard putting on a condom).
On his commentary track (which he shares with cinematographer Joaquin Baca-Asay), Dylan Kidd confirms that he's a better actor's director than visualist, conveying a complex understanding of behavior and a need to do certain things in ways that have never been done before-in the end, his intellect is as admirable as his generosity with his actors. This intellect is further confirmed throughout the additional commentary he recorded for four deleted/extended scenes, which includes an unnecessary scenario (wisely excised) that weakens Linney's character's role in the workplace. Rounding out the disc is a trailer for the film and other titles by Sony Pictures Classics.
A strong commentary track by Dylan Kidd can't help this P.S. DVD, which boasts a so-so soundtrack and questionable visual presentation.