Movie Blog: ‘Phillip Morris’ A Sweet Surprise

I Love You Phillip Morris is a love story told by a con man, a liar. And as you might expect, the character of the teller reflects the movie’s structure. It’s tricksy, Gollum might say.

It’s a story of deceit and determination: a portrait of a lover willing to do anything to be with the man he loves. The movie is almost always deceiving you, but this allows the story to take advantage of cinema’s most explosive weapon: surprise.

Surprise is what makes I Love You Phillip Morris worth seeing.

Basically, the movie is about Steven Russell, a gay con man played by Jim Carrey, and his struggle to forge a life for himself and his lover, Phillip Morris, played by Ewan McGregor, whom he met in prison.

An amazing liar and a tenacious lover, Russell pulls off increasingly complex, comical and even admirable cons, deceiving everyone: the police, prison guards, his lover, the audience and even himself. But hold on, no spoilers. Because the best part of this movie is the way Russell pulls the wool from over your eyes, only to happily reveal the audacity of his affection.

The final con, around which the entire film is built, is so crazy and unforgettable that you should just see it. And what makes the con truly unbelievable is that it’s based on a true story.

Although the movie is certainly worth seeing, it isn’t perfect. The relationship between Morris and Russell isn’t as developed as it could be. The movie is much more about Russell’s life than it is about his relationship with Morris, which creates a certain lack of pathos. Sometimes the comedy falls flat: think R-rated sex scene mixed with “In Living Color” Jim Carrey. It’s bland and leaves a bad taste. However, that’s not to say it doesn’t have its funny moments.

And in case you have the impression I Love You Philip Morris is a pick-me-up, it’s not. The movie’s filled with more defeats than victories. But there is something radiant in Russell’s affection for Morris, something that can’t be conquered by authority, distance, money or time; something humbling that begs the audience to answer: What would you do for love? What are the limits to your romance?

Today when a Facebook status update means something in a relationship, there seems to be a lack of old-school lovesick lunacy. I Love You Phillip Morris goes back to that; it champions love over anything, even morality. In this way, the movie resounds refreshingly with the Apostle Paul’s words: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”

More from Jonathon Sharp
  • karan

    Being gay or homosexual is NOT okay.

    • steve

      So long as you say so, lady. Why do you care? Does it affect you? Are gay people destroying your marriage?

  • Beau Larson

    You certainly are acting like a kid. Grow up!

  • try again

    And your comment connecting the Apostle Paul and a bilblical quote to this movie, disgusts me.

  • Steve

    You think its[sic] a sin to have a kid these days? Good, then don’t have a kid. That’ll be one less child brainwashed by a closed-minded mouth-breather like you.

  • Julie

    I sure am glad I am not homosexual

  • Ben

    To further quote the Apostle Paul: “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.”

  • alive

    Holly Cow, ya all calm down. This is a movie…..look in your own backyard, there is more going on in your own neighborhood than in this movie. I love the people who claim to lead perfect christian lives…….good luck getting into heaven when gods looks back on your life.

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