*This review is based solely on the movie. I have never read thebook or heard of it until I saw the film.
A good love story is supposed to grip the audience by the throat. You want to feel the anxiety, not knowing if the potential lovers will be together by the end. It should be a heart stopping, blood pumping through your brain experience.
The new Netflix movie, The Last Letter from Your Lover, is based on the Jojo Moyesbook of the same name. In 1965, the marriage between Jennifer Stirling (Shailene Woodley) and her husband Lawrence (Joe Alwyn) is on the rocks. She starts seeing Anthony O’Hare (Callum Turner) on the side. It quickly blossoms into a full blown love affair. They write to each other, trying to keep the romantic flame alive while Jennifer maintains the façade of a happy marriage.
In our time, Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones) is journalist whose newest assignment is to uncover the secrets behind the newly discovered letters. Working with colleague Rory McCallan (Nabhaan Rizwan), they start to fall for one another as the decades old truth begins to slowly reveal itself.
Just like anyone, I like a good love story. But it cannot be a romance just for romance’s sake. There has to be a legit reason as to why certain characters walk into the sunset together. While the 1960’s narrative was reasonably compelling, the modern narrative felt forced. Whatever it is that brings two people together, there was nothing that made me believe that Ellie and Rory would work as a couple. It felt forced and dragged down the movie as a whole. I would have preferred that they remained colleagues without crossing the line into a relationship.
Do I recommend it? Not really.
The Last Letter from Your Lover is available for streaming on Netflix.
It’s not uncommon to see a movie/television show or read a story about a man who stands up against injustice. However, the same story with a female protagonist is sadly, not as commonplace.
The new Harriet Tubman biopic, Harriet, was just released in theaters. Known on the plantation as Minty, the future Harriet Tubman (Cynthia Erivo) was born a slave. Though her father was born free, she is enslaved because her mother is a slave. After the death of her master, Minty knows that she will soon be sold. Her only choice is to escape to freedom.
After a 100 mile journey from Maryland, Harriet arrives in Philadelphia. Assisted by William Still (Leslie Odom Jr.) and Marie Buchanon (Janelle Monae), Harriet settles down into the quiet life of a free person of color. But while she resides in freedom, Harriet feels uneasy that her family is still in bondage. This uneasiness sends her back to Maryland, to free as many slaves as possible.
Going back and forth earns Harriet a reputation and a target on her head. One of those who would like to see her captured is Gideon Brodess (Joe Alwyn), the son of the family who owned Harriet. History tells us that Harriet Tubman does eventually achieve her goal, but not without many obstacles in her way.
This movie is brilliant and I believe, a must-see for anyone who believes in the freedoms that the United States is built on. Director and co-screenwriter Kasi Lemmons tells the story of her subject in a manner that simultaneously humanizes Harriet and gives her the proper moment in the spotlight.
I loved this film because it is educational and entertaining. From a writing standpoint, this is a balancing act in which many try, but few succeed. I also loved that there was no love interest for Harriet. Though the viewer is introduced to her first husband, his prominence in the narrative ends with the first act. He is not the raison d’être for everything that occurs within this film. I wish more filmmakers and screenwriters told the story of a female protagonist without relying on a romantic narrative because it’s the easy thing to do.
I absolutely recommend it and I would not be shocked if this film did well come award season.