Film Review: “The Last Letter from Your Lover” (2021)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Who does not like watching love stories? Whether it is with a happy ending or not, it has something to warm our hearts. Remember Arthur Hiller’s “Love Story” (1970) with Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal? Or “The Way We Were” (1973) with Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford or the classic “Casablanca?” Let’s not go that far but reflect on what we saw in “The Notebook” (2004). All of them have one theme in common – love, love and love. And that is why we like watching them; because it offers an affair to remember. An affair that can build bridges, begin a war and tie the knot between war and peace for some to live happily ever after.

Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones) takes her youth, energy and ability to care for somebody for granted. She ends up in one-night stand relationships, in which she finds comfort. As a journalist, though, she is brilliant, talented and persuasive. Jennifer Sterling (Shailene Woodley) was a socialite in 1965 whose façade of a happy life goes into scrambles when she finds herself starving for love. The life of the two women interweaves when Ellie finds a love letter addressed to Jennifer, written by a mysterious Mr Boot. As she embarks on a fascinating journey of finding the true identity of the two lovers from the past, she begins to see her life from a different perspective, allowing herself to take the biggest risk of her life – to fall in love.

The film opens with Jennifer sitting in a car with her spouse as Laurence (Joe Alwyn), the chauffeur, drives them home. We can feel the tension between the two. Something suggests unhappiness, despair and loneliness. Shortly after, we learn about her accident, due to which she suffered memory loss. On the other hand, Ellie suffers from memory loss too, when she mistakes Andrew for Rob (who we never really meet), the man she spent a night with. But that was just because she had too much drink the night before. When the journalist heads to work, she learns about the death of Mary Ellen, the longest-serving woman editor of The London Chronicles. This is when the young woman is assigned to write a feature on the paper’s longest-serving woman editor, not realizing how it would change her life forever.

Directed by Augustine Frizzell and written by Nick Payne and Esta Spalding, based on Jojo Moyes’ novel of the same name, “Last Letter from Your over” is another decent romantic drama that will remind you a bit of “An affair to Remember” and “The Notebook”. However, structurally, it’s more like “The Hours” that brought an Oscar to Nicole Kidman. However, all that comparison does not hurt the film, but it should boost your optimism towards it, as it provides a moving story of two people who met in the wrong place and at the wrong time.

Despite its predictableness, the film serves its main purpose – to touch your soul. With down to earth performances from Felicity Jones and Shailene Woodley, it shapes an excellent narrative towards the touching and heartbreaking love affair, which seemingly right from the beginning, was doomed to fail. The best parts of the film, of course, include the love letter, the relationship between Jennifer and Mr Boot (Ben Cross), and how it compares to the modern life of the ambitious and indifferent Ellie. So yes, the film has ups and downs. What film does not? But Frizell’s film, like a child with its first baby steps, gradually gets confident, strong and mature, showing us what it means to love, be loved, to be patient and persevere. More importantly, it explains why past mistakes can be corrected if they realize them and do everything possible to fix them for a happier future.

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