The Love Letter (1999) is a delicious little gem of a film. A romantic comedy directed by Peter Chan, it’s set during the summertime in a sleepy little fishing village in New England. The film centers on Helen (Kate Capshaw) who owns an old book store in Loblolly by the Sea. In a town this small, everyone seems to know everybody else’s business but it’s all in fun. While going through a pile of mail one morning, Helen finds a love letter in the cushions of the old sofa in the shop.
The letter itself is one of the most beautiful professions of intimacy she’s ever read and she can’t imagine who would have left it there for her. Ardent and sensual in its simple prose, Helen can’t get the words out of her mind. Eventually, the letter begins to make its way through some of the other characters in the film who upon finding it, believe it was left just for them. Some friction in particular comes between Helen and her good friend and office manager, Janet (Ellen DeGeneres) after Janet finds the letter.
Ellen DeGeneres is a joy to watch in this film. Her character makes me laugh out loud.
This is a story about love, illusions, and regrets. It’s about falling in love without taking a step, and it’s surprisingly rich with beautiful imagery and a soundtrack that suits it perfectly. The soundtrack alone is worth the price of the DVD rental – from Joe Cocker’s ‘Feelin’ Allright’ to jazz to concertos – the score, mainly by Luis Bacalov, is simply beautiful.
Tom Selleck is perfectly cast as George, the ever capable fireman who’s been in love with Helen since they were schoolmates many years ago. Tom Everett Scott (That Thing You Do) is delightful as Johnny, a young college student who takes a summer job in the book store and ends up falling in love with Helen. Blythe Danner makes a brief but interesting appearance as Helen’s mother and Geraldine McEwan plays the mysterious Miss Scattergoods.
I’ve seen this movie several times in my life and it never fails to make me feel better whenever I watch it. Yes, it’s a chick flick – but there’s nothing wrong with that at all.
Hope you enjoy ~