Movie: I Love You Philip Morris

When I first saw the trailer and the posted for this movie, I immediately dismissed it as just one big gay movie, portraying the bigger than life lives of your usual gay suspects. But even if it was one big gay movie, I was drawn to it since it was the first time Ewan McGregor will be playing such a role and I loved the poster and the trailer.
 
The movie was based on the life of Steven Russell, a married cop from Texas who, who  suddenly decides to come out of the closet. From then, he supports his decadent and fabulous lifestyle as a con artist who eventually gets caught and thrown in jail many times over the course of the movie (and his life). While he was on one of his sojourns in prison, he met and fell in love with Phillip Morris and he made several attempts to get Morris out of prison. 


Russell is actually a very intriguing character – using his undeniable genius (he reportedly has an IQ of 170) to stage unheard of efforts to get out of jail: pretending to be a judge, using green markers to dye his prison uniforms like those of prison nurses, and the most elaborate feat – faking medical results and convinces an entire medical facility that he was dying of AIDS. In fact, he successfully “died” of AIDS and would have gotten off scot-free had he not attempted to subsequently free his lover.

If like me, you assumed this movie is about the gay lifestyle, well, you’re dead wrong. It is,in fact, about a con artist’s life and he just happened to be gay. There may be a spattering display of gayness but their quite tolerable (or, probably heavily edited for the Philippine market, hence, I did not see any graphic scenes).

Jim Carrey is right at home in this movie as he impersonates one person after another with such convincing effect yet manages to be hilarious at the same time. I swear, he may be a comedian but I do think he’d do well in drama flicks as he can alter his facial expressions as swiftly as you flick your fingers. Although he might have to cut back on his wide-toothed grins that have become an irritating trademark of his.

Now, the real gem of the movie was Ewan’s performance. Most of us know him as a dramatic/action star and we often associate him as Obi-wan Kenobi from Star Wars, wielding his light saber. So I was really looking forward to see him tackle this role. 

And he didn’t disappoint – in every scene he was in, you just can’t help staring and smiling at him. The way he walked, talked, sat, even just stood in one corner – he was so gay!  From the very first scene when he slowly walked away from a prison fight and took refuge in the library, you knew he was a delicate gay. And a very good-looking gay at that. I loved it when he said, “you know what they do to blond, blue-eyed queers out there” or something to that effect, when Jim asked him why he never joined the field games.

I particularly can’t get over his “bedscene” with Jim Carrey – where he cried his heart out on Jim’s tear-stained shirt while Jim strokes his hair and hugs him on their cell bed. It was so perfect, every sob and rack of his body in tune with what I would imagine a gay to be doing at those moments. 

Story wise, this movie could not have picked a more original storyline. Parts of its plot seem so far-fetched that they almost seem the product of a hyper-imaginative mind, but then, we have assurances that this story happened in real life. And while Jim and Ewan may not be front runners in my mind as a gay couple (but then, Heath and Jake weren’t too), they couldn’t have done it better.

I loved this movie so much that I was actually surprised that I haven’t seen it in any box office reports in recent times – then I discovered that this gem of an indie film could not get a distributor in the US for its gay content. Well, I don’t know about that, all I know is that this movie is infinitely better than most the flicks Hollywood has been churning out lately.

This is a movie I would highly recommended – even if the story is not to your taste, Jim and Ewan’s antics will surely elicit laughter from you.


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