Now, before I start this review let me just say that I personally have not read JoJo Moyes’s book so I can’t really say whether this film adaptation directed by Augustine Frizzell, lived up to the hype or not. I feel bad saying this, but I really wanted to love this film and I just didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, The Last Letter From Your Lover is not a bad film but, it just felt like every other love story I’ve seen before.
The storyline was unique enough and it pulled me in at the beginning when Shailene Woodley’s character Jennifer Stirling and her husband Laurence Stirling played by Joe Alwyn, were introduced in London in the year 1965. They were so cold and distant towards one another, and she had a scar on face that let me know something bad happened. Laurence was acting weird so that had me questioning his motives especially when I saw him place a letter belonging to her inside of his desk drawer. It was a good introduction into both of their characters.
The twist of this story, which I thought was interesting was the fact that Jennifer’s accident affected her memory. She has no recollection of anything that happened prior to it including her lover Anthony O’Hare (Callum Turner), who she knew as “Boot.” After she stumbles on an old letter from him, she starts to try and piece it all back together to figure out who she was before the accident.
The film takes us into a series of flashbacks that take place six months before. In the flashbacks, we meet Anthony when he comes to do a piece on Jennifer’s husband. The two of them hit it off and start spending a lot of time together and eventually it turns into more. For Jennifer, Anthony is a perfect fit. They both have fun together, are free spirits, and he doesn’t stifle her like Laurence.
Present time in the story is where we meet Ellie (Felicity Jones). She wakes up in a complete stranger’s bed and based on their interaction it’s obvious she has some commitment issues, which is the biggest cliché in every single romance. She’s also a journalist at the London Chronicle. She takes on a story from one of her coworkers to go in and do a special piece on one of the longest serving female editors who has died.
While she’s working on the story, she stumbles on a love letter from a man that goes by “Boot” and it’s addressed simply to ‘J,’ which obviously we know is Jennifer. Ellie believes that ‘J’ never received the letter, so she embarks on a mission to find out more and get the letter to her.
To achieve this, she teams up with Rory (Nabhaan Rizwan) an archivist who also works at the Chronicle. The Last Letter From Your Lover flashes back and forth between Ellie and Rory’s story as well as Jennifer and Anthony’s. While this film has some pretty scenes, I just did not feel the passion from anyone.
I loved Callum as Anthony, he was probably one of the best things about this film but the chemistry between him and Shailene didn’t really do it for me. They had a couple of moments where I felt a spark begin but then it would fizzle out. And Felicity and Nabhaan were not any better. The relationship just felt so forced. They had a weird meet-cute at the beginning of the film, but they just didn’t work as a couple for me. I honestly could have done without it. They worked better to me as friends.
Joe Alwyn as Laurence was just kinda there if you know what I mean. He didn’t do anything but just be a dick the whole time. Also, he looked like a little kid to me. I couldn’t take him seriously as this grown ass man with all this bravado. His scenes with Shailene as husband and wife were hard to get through.
One of the things I did enjoy was the use of music throughout the film. The songs fit perfectly in every scene and that’s honestly what helped me feel the emotions more. I particularly liked the use of Aretha Franklin’s song “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” when Jennifer shows up at Anthony’s hotel room. The costumes were amazing too and Shailene’s outfits gave me Jackie-O vibes. I will say this though, I hated her hair piece they put in when she had her hair down with the ponytail thing. It just didn’t look real good.
The problem with The Last Letter From Your Lover was that I didn’t feel the emotion I should, have. I wanted to love this film the way that I loved Me Before You. Obviously, they are two totally different films, but I was looking for that level of emotion and this movie didn’t deliver. Nothing about it ever brought me to tears and this could have been a heartbreakingly beautiful film, but it wasn’t. The final scene comes and there’s a small moment of aww where you might feel a little warm fuzzy but, that’s about it.
Don’t let my opinion stop you from watching The Last Letter From Your Lover because, you may disagree and think it’s a great film especially if you’ve read the book and you think that it was done the way it should have been. Watch it for yourself and then let us know what your thoughts are.