|I Love You Phillip Morris|
|Directed by||Glenn Ficarra|
|Produced by||Andrew Lazar|
|Music by||Nick Urata|
|Cinematography||Xavier Pérez Grobet|
|Editing by||Thomas J. Nordberg|
|Distributed by||Roadside Attractions|
|Release||December 3, 2010|
|Running time||93 minutes|
I Love You Phillip Morris is a 2009 romantic comedy-drama film based on the 1980s and '90s real-life story of con artist, impostor, and multiple prison escapee Steven Jay Russell, as played by Jim Carrey. While incarcerated, Russell falls in love with his fellow inmate, Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). After Morris is released from prison, Russell escapes from prison four times in order to be reunited with Morris. The film was adapted from I Love You Phillip Morris: A True Story of Life, Love, and Prison Breaks by Steve McVicker. The film is the directorial debut of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. It grossed a little over $20 million worldwide after its limited theatrical release.
Steven Jay Russell (Jim Carrey) is on his deathbed, recalling the events of his life. He spent his early adult years in Virginia Beach as a police officer. He plays the organ at church, has unenthusiastic sex with his wife, Debbie (Leslie Mann), and spends his off hours searching for his biological mother, who gave him up as a child. Steven locates his biological mother, but she rejects him, with it being implied she does so because she wants to deny his existence.
After a car crash, Steven leaves his family and previous life behind (though he keeps in touch with his wife and young daughter), and explores the world as his true self – a gay man. He moves to Miami, finds a boyfriend (Rodrigo Santoro), and lives a luxurious lifestyle. To keep himself and his boyfriend in the style to which they have become accustomed, Steven becomes a con man. Steven is pursued by the police, and after narrowly surviving falling off a parking garage, has a reunion with his lover, who at the time is dying of AIDS, and is sent to prison, where he falls in love with inmate Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor).
Steven cannot bear to be separated from Phillip. After being released, he helps get Phillip freed from prison by posing as a lawyer, then attains wealth by fraudulently acquiring a position as chief financial officer of a large medical management company called USAMM.
Steven eventually gets caught embezzling from the company, and goes back to prison. Phillip is also sent to jail as an accomplice, and angrily tells Steven he never wants to see him again. Months later, Phillip learns from another inmate that Steven is dying of AIDS. Heartbroken, Phillip calls Steven while he is in the infirmary and confesses that while he is still upset with Steven for lying to him, he still loves him. Phillip is later told that Steven has died.
Sometime later, Phillip is taken to meet with his lawyer and finds Steven waiting for him. Steven describes how he faked having AIDS and dying (having based parts of it off his boyfriend who died of AIDS while he was in prison) in order to see Phillip again, and promises to never lie to him again. He runs one last con to break Phillip out of jail, only to be caught when he runs into an old coworker.
The end of the movie explains that the real-life Phillip Morris was released from jail in 2006, but Steven is still imprisoned, on 23-hour lockup, only having one free hour a day to shower and exercise, which the film implies to be because an official involved in the sentencing had a nephew who was conned by Morris, in-universe and in the story it was based on.
The last scene shows Steven laughing joyfully while running across the prison yard, guards in pursuit, in another attempt to be with Phillip.
- Jim Carrey as Steven Jay Russell
- Ewan McGregor as Phillip Morris
- Leslie Mann as Debbie
- Rodrigo Santoro as Jimmy
- Antoni Corone as Lindholm
- Brennan Brown as Larry Birkheim
- Michael Showers as Gary
- Marc Macaulay as Houston Cop
- Annie Golden as Eudora Mixon
- Michael Mandel as Cleavon
- Phillip Morris (in an uncredited cameo) as a lawyer during Steven's sentencing