I managed to watch I love you Phillip Morris after having it on my PC for almost a year. Not many people have heard of it due to an idiotic decision to distribute the movie. The movie is excellent with a great performance by Jim Carrey. He doesn’t tend to do comedy that often anymore and this isn’t purely a comedy, even so he shines given the chance. It’s interesting to note the comedy in this film is a lot more subtle which is always interesting to contrast to his not so subtle beginnings.
The story is basically a love story of two men who meet in jail. Ewan McGregor also does a great turn as Jim Carrey’s lover, and these two play off each other perfectly. The movie does not pay much attention to his family life before he revealed he was gay and the transition happens quite quickly in the film. Likewise the many ingenious escape attempts made by Stephen Jay Russell (played by Carrey) are not given much attention and are shown in a more comedic light. These things don’t hurt the film, but I think it would have been interesting to look at it from a more serious point of view. Then again, there are documentaries for that purpose.
It is never stated explicitly what time period the film is set in, although is appears to be late 80’s/early 90’s going by the size of the cell phones used. Another interesting thing is how the police repeatedly refer to the characters as ‘faggot’. I wonder how much that has changed, or if it is still prevalent – especially in places like Texas.
I am glad the movie brought to my attention the story of the main character, Stephen Jay Russel. I think it makes for an interesting example for an argument about the current prison system being as fucked up as it is. Yes, the guy broke the law, but he is currently serving a 144 year life sentence with 23 hours a day being in solitary. That is very obviously wrong and not at all proportionate to the crime he committed. I would question whether he should be in jail at all, given that he is obviously intelligent and could be serving society in much more beneficial ways.
The saddest thing about this movie is that it has not gotten distribution, with it being out for almost two years. The obvious reason is due to the homosexual love story. People love a good con film and a good love story so with the two combined the film should have been at least moderately popular. The film is not even overtly gay, the one gays sex scene lasts only a few seconds and is not terribly explicit. Indeed most of the film is actually romantic. Unfortunately much like the homophobic police in the movie, film distribution companies have yet to realize that sexual orientation simply shouldn’t matter.