In 1965, after suffering an accident which has left her scarred and amnesiac, Jennifer Stirling (Shailene Woodley), is feeling distant from her husband, Laurence (Joe Alwyn), and from herself. Slowly, she begins to recall a trip abroad, upon which she began a relationship with a journalist named Anthony O’Hare (Callum Turner). In the present day, Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones), is something of a hot mess, having just gotten out of a long term relationship, and also working as a journalist. She finds some letters that Jennifer and Anthony wrote to one another and, with the help of her colleague Rory (Nabhaan Rizwan), goes about investigating who these people were and how their love story ended.
There’s romance as well as mystery woven throughout ‘The Last Letter from Your Lover’ which in spite of its good cast, is a little too mellow. It’s so mellow in fact that it quickly becomes slightly dull, taking its time when you want it to speed up, so you can get through the obligatory plot parts you know are coming, and get along with the central question of so what happened next?
Still, the acting is good, the five central players all playing their parts well, with Woodley playing the dolled up, ‘60s socialite exquisitely (her hair and wardrobe are to die for), while it’s intriguing and welcome to see Jones in a more humourous and contemporary role than we’re used to seeing her in. Her character’s growing obsession with how the letters end becomes the viewer’s own, like zipping through an excellent book (and no doubt this worked better on paper from author Jojo Moyes than it works on the screen). In spite of a talented cast, the script simply lacks that sense of lift.
Still, one can indulge in and enjoy the escapism of those sunny, glam, if not slightly hollow, flashback scenes, and once the affair at last commences, there is some life injected into the plot. But it’s ultimately all very predictable, and the movie is far too long. One should also add that if old people being cute and romantic gets you teary (‘Up’ bring the pinnacle of cinema in this regard), this reviewer would warn you to bring tissues.
'The Last Letter from Your Lover' is playing exclusively in cinemas in the UK & Ireland from August 6th 2021.