The Last Letter from Your Lover Parent Guide
This movie is little more than an all-star endorsement for adultery.
Parent Movie Review
It’s 1965 and Jennifer Stirling (Shailene Woodley) has just returned home from the hospital with a scar on her cheek and no memories prior to her car accident. Her husband Laurence (Joe Alwyn) is attentive but strangely formal and their home feels chilly. Then a letter from a lover falls out of one of her books, and she learns that she had been conducting a torrid affair with a journalist named Anthony O’Hare (Callum Turner). As the memories start to swirl through her mind, Jennifer gradually becomes reacquainted with herself and her past.
More than 50 years later, another journalist gets tangled up in their story when she stumbles across a cache of Jennifer and Anthony’s letters. Despite her own dysfunctional relationships, Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones) is a die-hard romantic and she can’t resist digging into the poignant love affair with the help of an eager archivist (Nabhaan Rizwan). But the past isn’t always what we expect and it can influence the present in unexpected ways…
Let’s cut straight to the chase. Any movie that relies on amnesia as a central plot element is scraping the bottom of the screenwriting barrel. Resorting to that tired old cliché is a sign of laziness and a lack of imagination. The movie’s biggest problem, though, is its whitewashing of adultery. The Last Letter from Your Lover is little more than a soft-focused all-star endorsement of adultery, excused by the overpowering passion that burns between the lovers and the problems plaguing Jennifer’s marriage. Fidelity, loyalty, and honesty are all pushed aside by the supposedly irresistible pull of sexual attraction and mystical connection.
Thankfully, the film’s permissive sexual theme is not matched with egregious sexual content. There is plenty of steamy kissing and some discreetly filmed sex but there is no explicit content or nudity. The cuss count stays around twenty – a rarity in today’s swearing-saturated film environment – and alcohol plays a minor role in the story. By today’s standards for romantic dramas, this one comes with comparatively restrained content issues.
The Last Letter to Your Lover is exactly what its trailer promises. It’s a gooey romantic drama, with an attractive cast and some wonderful 60s clothing. (Although the thought of wearing a girdle, gloves, hats, and heels in the summer somewhat dims the wardrobe’s appeal.) There’s some chemistry between the lovers (in both timeframes) and the two lead actresses effectively carry the film. But for all that, it feels flat. This is one of those movies that recycles so many elements that it feels like I’ve seen it before. If an unremarkable love story that floats in and out of your head is what you’re looking for, this could work for you. But for me, watching this movie kept reminding me that there are better romantic dramas out there and this one is taking time that I’d rather spend watching one of them.Directed by Augustine Frizzell. Starring Shailene Woodley, Felicity Jones, Joe Alwyn, Callum Turner. Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release July 23, 2021. Updated October 2, 2021
Watch the trailer for The Last Letter from Your Lover
The Last Letter from Your Lover
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Last Letter from Your Lover rated TV-MA? The Last Letter from Your Lover is rated TV-MA by the MPAA for language, smoking
Violence: There’s mention of someone dying in a car accident. A woman has flashbacks to a car accident: there is a scar on her cheek. A man jokes about shooting himself. There’s the briefest mention of civil strife in Congo. A woman is falsely told she’s responsible for someone’s death. A man grabs his wife by the upper arm and threatens to take their child away from her.
Sexual Content: A married couple kiss. A man mentions that he is divorced because of his infideity. A woman is surprised to wake up in a man’s bed after a one night stand. The movie centers around an affair between a married woman and a man. They are seen kissing passionately and removing some clothing. There is a non-graphic scene of sexual intercourse between the two of them: there is no explicit nudity. They are also seen in a post-coital moment in bed. An unmarried couple kiss passionately and fall on the bed: sex is implied but not seen. A couple embrace on a bed and adulterous sex is implied.
Profanity: There are three sexual expletives heard in the film and a few others are seen in writing. There are also ten scatological curses and over a half dozen terms of deity. A crude term for women’s breasts is used.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Main characters are seen smoking, as was common in the era. Main characters drink alcohol with meals and in bars and restaurants. A man says he’s drunk. Main characters drink alcohol at stressful times.
Page last updated October 2, 2021
The Last Letter from Your Lover Parents' Guide
Jenny excuses the adultery on the basis of pre-existing problems in her marriage. Do you think this is fair? Did the affair “just happen” or were there steps on the way that she could have avoided? What do you think would have happened to her marriage had she never responded to any of Anthony’s early overtures? Could it have been saved or do you think its collapse was inevitable?
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If you’d prefer a romantic drama that celebrates marriage instead of adultery, there are some good options to choose from. Breathe tells the story of a couple whose love gives them the power to cope with the paralysis that ensues after the husband contracts polio. In A United Kingdom, the marriage of a British woman and the heir to the throne of Botswana threatens British foreign policy and sees the couple pushing back against the power of the British Empire. On the Basis of Sex is a moving portrait of marital unity and loyalty as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her husband Marty support each other through their educations and careers. Author C.S. Lewis’s marriage to Joy Gresham is the subject of Shadowlands. This is a moving depiction of loyalty and devotion as the couple deal with her cancer diagnosis.
The classic movie Casablanca stars Ingrid Bergman as a woman who has to choose between the husband she believed dead and a past lover. But it’s the middle of World War II and more than just her feelings are on the line.