The Last Letter From Your Lover is the story of a doomed love affair, recounted over two different periods in time. It is an adaptation of the bestselling book by Jojo Moyes, who also wrote Me Before You, another novel that made it to the big screen and starred Emilia Clarke and Sam Claflin. Not exactly my movie genre of choice, but I remember being pleasantly surprised by Me Before You when I saw it, so I was hoping for a similar reaction to this one. And it was date night, so I thought Mrs B might appreciate seeing a bit of romance on the big screen for a change.
From the opening moments though, I really wasn’t sure if this was going to be for me, and I was dreading the rest of the movie. We’re in London, 1965. Wealthy couple Jennifer (Shailene Woodley) and Lawrence Stirling (Joe Alwyn) are returning home from the hospital. We know that’s where they’ve come from because the housekeeper says “welcome home from the hospital”, which seemed like a bit of an odd thing to say and kind of bothered me for longer than it should have done. Anyway, it turns out that Jennifer was involved in a serious car accident and now has a scar on her cheek. She is also suffering from amnesia, appearing unsure and uncomfortable with her husband and the unfamiliar surroundings. As she retires to her room, we see Lawrence in the study as he looks to conceal a love letter that is addressed to his wife from another man, detailing his desire for her to run away with him.
Then suddenly we’re in present-day London, where we meet journalist Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones), waking up in the bed of a man whose name she can’t quite remember, before rushing off to her place of work, the offices of The London Chronicle. Ellie is working on an upcoming feature that involves her visiting the newspaper’s archive rooms, where she meets archivist Rory (Nabhaan Rizwan). Rory is a bit of a jobsworth, stating that Ellie must use the online booking system before gaining access to the archives but when she does manage to gain access to the archives, Ellie comes across a love letter addressed to ‘J’ and her curiosity is sparked. Keen to find out more about ‘J’ and her lover, who signs his letters with ‘B’ or ‘Boot’, Ellie begins working with Rory to uncover further letters in the hope of finding out what became of them. As they spend more time working together, a spark of romance forms between Ellie and Rory, something which I didn’t quite find believable for the rest of the movie, but this is a romance story after all, so I guess it was to be expected.
Back in 1965 and we start to learn a bit more about J and B. Jennifer and Lawrence are now taking a break in the French Riviera – driving along winding roads, through beautiful scenery and with the car roof down. Journalist Anthony O’Hare (Callum Turner) has been sent to profile Lawrence and joins them for a dinner they’re having with friends, before managing to find himself on the wrong side of Jennifer. However, when Lawrence heads off on business for a few days, Jennifer and Anthony manage to patch things up and begin spending their days together. A holiday romance blooms, something which continues when they return to London and begin exchanging the now infamous letters.
I must admit that when it came to the romance of Jennifer and Anthony, I did eventually become interested. But it was certainly a slow process and I found much of the first half to be fairly tedious and nothing new. The 1960s locations of the French Riviera and London are beautifully portrayed, and the performances of its two lovers, particularly Shailene Woodley, were both powerful and believable, and I found myself fully rooting for them both. On the other hand, I often found the switch to present-day London a little jarring, and as much as I enjoyed Felicity Jones and her character, I just didn’t buy into her relationship with Rory so much.
Despite everything, The Last Letter From Your Lover did manage to warm my heart towards the end when investigations between Ellie and Rory lead us to where Jennifer and Anthony find themselves in the present day. For the most part though, this is all nothing that we haven’t seen before and done better. But the interesting story and great performances meant that this actually wasn’t quite as bad as I thought it was going to be!
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Web developer by day, with a movie and TV watchlist that continues to grow as much as my spare time reduces! My favourite movie is Inception and, despite what everyone says, I do not have a man-crush on Tom Cruise.