I Love You Phillip Morris – Review

Posted January 19, 2009 in
Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's star-studded gay prison romance unites the Sundance tradition of edgy topics with the 'sneak preview' portion of Sundance, designed to merely create buzz about films destined for major distribution. In many ways, this dichotomy is what makes the film a landmark event in American cinema. The film retells the true story of Steven Russell (Jim Carrey), a family man who comes out of his self-imposed heterosexuality after an horrific car accident - making the bold decision to do whatever he wants from that point on - and doing whatever it takes to finance this new lifestyle, including insurance fraud, embezzlement, and multiple outlandish prison breaks. In his inevitable trip to prison, he falls hopelessly in love with Phillip Morris (Ewan Macgregor), a soft-spoken gentle shell of a man. What stands out about this film is its genuine portrayal of an undying, full of holes love that persists despite all reason and logic - similar to Nabokov's Lolita, only less unrequited. The genuine depiction of love is well-portrayed and focused on human connection rather than overly focusing on the 'queer' element of the film. This transition out of the margins and into the mainstream is positive step for film and gay rights. The humanism of the film is at central focus - these people's emotions and self doubts create a love so believably flawed and unsure - yet undying - one can not help but be touched.

- Ryan Powers