I Love You Phillip Morris




The Plot (from Wikipedia)

Steven Jay Russell is on his deathbed, recalling the events of his life that led him to this point. 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, and spends his off-hours searching for his biological mother, who had placed him for adoption as a child. Steven locates his biological mother, but she rejects him.

He then quits the police force and moves to Texas and works for Sysco, the family business.

After a car crash on the way to a homosexual tryst, Steven leaves his family and 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, where he finds a boyfriend, Jimmy, and they adopt a luxurious lifestyle. To keep themselves in the style to which they have become accustomed, Steven becomes a con man. Steven is pursued by the police, and, after jumping off a parking garage, is sent to prison, where he falls in love with inmate Phillip Morris.

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 is caught embezzling. While in the police car he reminisces about Jimmy in Florida dying of AIDS. He asks the police for Phillips insulin and injects himself. He goes back to prison, Phillip is also sent to prison 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 dying of AIDS, to be allowed to see Phillip again, and promises never to lie to him again. He runs one last con to break Phillip out of prison, only to be caught when he runs into an old co-worker.

The end of the movie explains that the real-life Phillip Morris was released from prison in 2006; but Steven was given a life sentence and is in 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.

The last scene shows Steven laughing joyfully while running across the prison yard, guards in pursuit, in another attempt to be with Phillip.


'I Love You Phillip Morris': Fact vs. Fiction (from MovieFone.com)

The phrase "truth is stranger than fiction" applies to few stories more perfectly than that of Steven Jay Russell, a gay con man who has escaped from prison multiple times by simply walking out the door -- through different means of disguise. Nearly every time that he was caught on the run, it was because of his love for another inmate, Phillip Morris, from whom he just couldn't stay away. This amazing and oftentimes downright bizarre tale of duplicity and Big House romance is brought to the big screen with Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's hilarious black comedy 'I Love You Phillip Morris,' in which Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor star, respectively, as the great escapee and his object of affection.

Based on the book by Steve McVickar, a journalist who'd previously covered the ongoing story for the Houston Press, 'I Love You Phillip Morris' is actually surprisingly faithful to the truth, for the most part (and as far as we can believe that what Russell told to McVickar is indeed the whole truth). Producer Andrew Lazar admits that "obviously we've taken dramatic license" and Requa acknowledges that "we had to mix-n-match and move stuff around," yet as the opening title claims, pretty much everything in the film really happened. It really did.

They just might have happened a little differently, chronologically or with greater detail. So, not to nitpick, but we take a look at some of the significant parts of the adaptation and clarify any contrasts with how things really really occurred.


Movie Info (from Rotten Tomatoes)


Bad Santa co-screenwriters Glenn Ficara and John Requa re-team for this fact-based black comedy starring Jim Carrey as a Texas police officer-turned-con man who makes the leap to white-collar criminal after being sent to prison and falling in love with his sensitive cellmate. Steve Russell (Carrey) is a small-town cop. Bored with his bland lifestyle, Russell turns to fraud as a means of shaking things up. Before long, Russell's criminal antics have landed him behind bars, where he encounters the charismatic Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). Smitten, Russell devotes his entire life to being with Morris regardless of the consequences -- which could well include a life sentence. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
R (for sexual content including strong dialogue, and language)
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
John Requa , Glenn Ficarra
Written By:
Glenn Ficarra , John Requa
In Theaters:
Dec 3, 2010  limited
Apr 5, 2011
Box Office:
98 minutes
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