The Love Letter (1999 film)
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|The Love Letter|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Chan|
|Produced by||Kate Capshaw
|Screenplay by||Maria Maggenti|
|Story by||Cathleen Schine (novel)|
|Music by||Luis Enríquez Bacalov|
|Edited by||Jacqueline Cambas|
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Pictures|
|Running time||88 minutes|
The Love Letter is a 1999 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Chan and starring Kate Capshaw. It is based on the novel by Cathleen Schine. The original music score was composed by Luis Enriquez Bacalov. The film takes place in the New England town of Loblolly-by-the-Sea.
Helen MacFarquhar (Kate Capshaw), a middle-aged bookseller, having recently divorced and after sending her daughter off to summer camp, and her nagging ex-husband trying to convince her to pay for some of their daughter's activities is ready to move on to the next stage in her life. One morning, as she is going through the mail, she discovers an anonymous blue love letter, without an envelope and a name. Having discovered this letter in her mail, in her bookstore, she naturally thinks it is for her. But the only question is, who is it from? At first, she thinks it is from George Matthias, the local fireman, but decides it couldn't be him, after trying to give him subtle hints ("have you ever been 'on fire?'") Not having any idea who may be the writer of the love letter, she just puts it away in her purse and tries to forget about it.
Then, Johnny, a college student who has a summer job working in Helen's bookstore, is invited to her house for dinner. During dinner she puts two wine glasses and a bottle next to her purse, which has the letter in it. By mistake, and not noticing it, Helen accidentally knocks the letter out of the purse. While in the kitchen cooking, she tells Johnny to have some wine. Johnny comes across the letter, and is struck by it. He mistakenly thinks it is from Helen! Later that night, he begins to "peel an orange", a line from the letter. Seeing his hint, Helen rushes into the house and says goodnight. Johnny leaves. In the next few weeks, Johnny and Helen meet and begin an affair, each thinking the other wrote the letter.
Helen goes to the bookstore, and brings the letter with her. She leaves her purse on the desk. Then, Helen's manager, Janet Hall (Ellen DeGeneres), arrives. Helen decides not to tell her about the letter just yet. While she is upstairs working, George comes in with new smoke detectors for the store. Janet accepts them, but the desk collapses, along with Helen's purse, which contains the letter. In all the chaos, the letter is mixed in with the instruction manuals for the smoke detectors. George, before leaving, says "Make sure you read the manuals first." Then, Janet opens the manual, and the letter falls out. She reads it and thinks it is from George. Later that day, Janet rushes over to tell Helen about the letter. But Helen, not knowing how to say it, just takes it and says "It's mine". Janet, angry at Helen for not having faith in her happiness, quits her job as manager.
Amidst all the confusion, it is revealed that the letter was actually written by Helen's mother's lover, another woman. Early in her life, Helen's mother fell in love with a woman who wrote her a letter expressing her love. Considering the conservative time period and social stigma, the relationship was never to be, but Helen's mom had kept the letter to help her remember her past. All the confusion is cleared up and Helen connects with her mom when she tells her about her past affair.
|Kate Capshaw||Helen MacFarquhar|
|Blythe Danner||Lillian MacFarquhar|
|Ellen DeGeneres||Janet Hall|
|Tom Everett Scott||Johnny|
|Tom Selleck||George Matthias|
|Geraldine McEwan||Miss Scattergoods|
|Jack Black||Fisherman (uncredited)|
- The Love Letter at the Internet Movie Database
- The Love Letter at AllMovie
- The Love Letter at Rotten Tomatoes