The Good: Idea, Previews, Acting
The Bad: Characters, Plot, Dialog, Script, Complete lack of humor or purpose
The Basics: A sad - as in pathetic - excuse for a film that barely utilizes its excellent actors in an otherwise worthless film lacking in plot and character and direction.
I saw a preview for The Love Letter and figured, whatwith enjoying Ellen DeGeneres for years, I'd watch the film. Now, far too often, I'm recommending that the viewer not read the backs of video boxes or watch previews (the preview for Bound, for example, ruins the film completely). On this occasion, I'd suggest that one only watch the previews for The Love Letter; more than that is a waste of your time.
It's a pretty sad thing when I watched the film yesterday and it was so utterly unmemorable as to not have a single character whose name I remember. Not one. I had to look them up today.
The Love Letter follows the rather unremarkable path of an ambiguous love letter through a small New England town. Being unsigned and unaddressed, the letter travels through various inhabitants who believe it is for them and they hypothesize on who sent it to them. Sounds like an interesting premise, doesn't it? It's not executed well.
In fact, the script is so weak, the writing so unremarkable and listless and lacking in characters and coherency that I wonder how the script ever was made into a film. The main characters focused on are Helen, who is torn between desire for the firefighter George and the younger, more energetic and passionate Johnny. Helen works at a bookstore and her only remarkable personality trait is an obsessive disorder that makes her attentive to her employees showing up for work on time. She employs Janet, who has an interest in George.
So, basically, the letter makes the rounds between the principles and they react to the letter, based on assumptions from the text. Naturally, none of them are correct and in the end we, the viewers, find out how very wrong we were. We are not surprised.
Ellen DeGeneres and Tom Selleck as Janet and George, respectively, act well. They provide the moments of life in this film. Outside their occasional excellent acting, the film is a stillborn. It's not funny, it's not dramatic, it's not even interesting.
No one in the film rises to the occasion because there is no occasion for them to rise to. There is a lack of a compelling premise and every single joke that is remotely funny is shown in the preview. All of the best lines are there as well. This film is not worth your time or effort.
For other romances, be sure to visit my reviews of:
The Lake House
Just Go With It
For other film reviews, be sure to visit my Movie Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the films I have reviewed!
© 2012, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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