Studiocanal presents The Last Letter From Your Lover in UK cinemas from August 6th.
A pair of interwoven stories set in the present and past, THE LAST LETTER FROM YOUR LOVER follows Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones), an ambitious journalist who discovers a trove of secret love letters from 1965 and becomes determined to solve the mystery of the forbidden affair at their center. As she uncovers the story behind Jennifer Stirling (Shailene Woodley), the wife of a wealthy industrialist, and Anthony O’Hare (Callum Turner) the financial journalist assigned to cover him, a love story of Ellie’s own begins to unfold with the assistance of an earnest and endearing archivist (Nabhaan Rizwan) who helps her track down more letters. Based on the novel by JoJo Moyes and directed by Augustine Frizzell.
Who doesn’t love a good old fashioned sappy romance story on the big screen? Well, Augustine Frizzell’s The Last Letter From Your Lover is the latest movie for you. Have we seen a story like this done before? Absolutely. However, that doesn’t take away the fact that it is incredibly enjoyable and the cast are charming as ever.
The story is one that has been displayed on the big screen many times before. The film follows a young journalist (played by Felicity Jones – Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Midnight Sky) in London who becomes obsessed with a series of letters she discovers that recount an intense star-crossed love affair from the 1960s. The film focuses on two interwoven stories (one in the present day and the other in 1965) that focus on the love affair between Mr O’Hare and Mrs Sterling while in modern day London, the film focuses on Ellie Haworth, a young journalist who becomes fixated on these love letters from the 1960s.
Let’s start with what truly works with The Last Letter From Your Lover. The cast are all fantastic, either in the present day or in the 1960s. Felicity Jones and Nabhaan Rizwan have brilliant chemistry while in the ‘60s, Shailene Woodley and Callum Turner’s characters have an excellently built relationship. The way the two relationships grow throughout the film is perfectly executed and you can feel the tension that is built and gain a perspective from when it happened in the past and the consequences sixty years later.
The costume designs are also gorgeous. Every single outfit that Woodley’s Mrs Sterling and Turner’s Anthony O’Hare wear stand out and look absolutely stunning. Costume designer Anna Robbins truly has knocked it out of the park and might have just made her magnum opus on this film.
The cinematography by George Steel is also ravishing. From the shores of Majorca to the streets of London, every single sequence is filled with vibrant colours and stunning backdrops that help set the overall tone and mood of the film. The way the costumes also align with the setting works perfectly and honestly surprised me by how the two work hand-in-hand.
However, my main criticism with the movie is that it is way too short. Everything in the ‘60s is fully fleshed out and given time to develop yet the modern subplot is condensed and doesn’t really have all that much to do unfortunately. It felt like it had to be no longer than its 110 minute runtime and needed an extra twenty minutes to balance out both stories. Because there is a lack of modern day sequences, the emotional payoff at the end of the film felt empty and didn’t do anything to impact me.
The Last Letter From Your Lover doesn’t do anything new for the genre yet is a welcome addition and has a charming cast who are all excellent in the film – Shailene Woodley in particular. The costume designs and cinematography are absolutely jaw dropping and truly are the standout in the movie. It is definitely too short making the film seem a little uneven at times and making one of the storylines feel underdeveloped. With an extra twenty minutes or so, this could’ve been a classic of the genre!