The Last Letter From Your Lover is a Netflix Original drama starring Felicity Jones. When an investigative journalist stumbles upon some old love letters, she soon finds herself obsessed with a decades-old affair that she must learn the ending to. But do all stories get happy endings? And if it didn’t the first time, is there the possibility for a second go?
There are few staples of fiction as alluring as the timely arrival. When something comes for the protagonist that is completely out of left field and yet is exactly what they need in that exact moment. The thought that the universe will drop something as inconspicuous as a stray love letter into your lap that will go on to change your life has a romance to it. Or maybe it appeals to us simply because it helps us excuse going through the motions when we aren’t really happy? After all, maybe that letter will just show up in our lives and make it better.
That letter does turn up for one Ellie Hawthorne (Jones). Having recently gotten out of a nearly decade-long relationship, Ellie is struggling with where she wants to take her personal life while she continues to work her job at a newspaper. When a trip to the archives room of her office gifts Ellie with a letter from a mysterious love affair decades earlier, as well as a new romantic prospect, Ellie’s life seems poised for big changes. If she can summon the courage to take the chances right in front of her.
The Last Letter From Your Lover splits its time between the present as well as the past. As Ellie discovers letters that give her glimpses into the events of a love affair from the 1960s, the viewer is swept back in time to see the whole story. As the affair plays out, viewers are shown the path that the lovers’ story takes from their first accidental meeting to their seemingly final fate.
While the movie does a great job of capturing the couple’s passion and joy at finding each other, at the end of the day, what is happening is still an affair. A person is being cheated on, and the romanticization of that is something I’m sure many will not enjoy. The film does its best to justify the actions of the couple in the usual ways. A loveless marriage with a husband who clearly does not appreciate his wife, and a desperate need to be wanted are both utilized to condone the actions of the couple. Whether or not this makes the story acceptable will of course vary from viewer to viewer.
While much of the focus of The Last Letter From Your Lover is in the past, Ellie’s life continues to march forward in the present. As she searches for the letters, she comes to know a man who works in the paper’s archives office. As their interactions grow, Ellie is faced with how to proceed with her own life. The two narratives end up impacting each other in a creative and meaningful way.
The biggest standout aspects of this film are easily the more technical aspects of the production. Sets and costumes for the 60s sequences are fantastic. The movie goes to great lengths to emphasize the glitz and glamour of the era. And the camera work that delivers some key sequences is equally skillful in drawing the viewer into the passion of the affair as it unfolds. This saturation of energy is further built up by how mundanely most of the modern moments are delivered. The energy that makes the couple in the past’s sequences feel vibrant and alive is absent from Ellie’s.
The acting in The Last Letter From Your Lover is delivered well. While a few moments landed as a bit too melodramatic for my tastes, the overall delivery of the movie’s moments was adequately performed. There aren’t any performances that stuck with me, but neither were there any that pulled me out of the moment either.
When all is said and done, The Last Letter From Your Lover delivers a compelling mystery that draws viewers in with its energy and presentation. As long as the nature of the story’s focal romance isn’t a deal-breaker for you there is an engrossing story to experience here.
The Last Letter From Your Lover is streaming on Netflix.
The Last Letter From Your Lover
The Last Letter From Your Lover delivers a compelling mystery that draws viewers in with its energy and presentation. As long as the nature of the story’s focal romance isn’t a deal-breaker for you there is an engrossing story to experience here.