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The Love Letter


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Product Details

  • Actors: Kate Capshaw, Tom Everett Scott, Tom Selleck, Blythe Danner, Ellen DeGeneres
  • Directors: Peter Chan
  • Writers: Cathleen Schine, Maria Maggenti
  • Producers: Kate Capshaw, Beau Flynn, Karen Koch, Midge Sanford, Sarah Pillsbury
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Dreamworks Video
  • DVD Release Date: November 23, 1999
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0783239416
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,484 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Love Letter" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Parental Lock

Editorial Reviews

Helen (Kate Capshaw) runs a bookstore in Loblolly By The Sea, a small fishing community in New England where everyone seems to know everyone else's business. A 42-year-old single mother, she is emotionally distant and fearful of getting too close to anyone. George (Tom Selleck) has known Helen since they were schoolmates, and he's been in love with her for ages, but has always settled for just being her friend. Convinced she wasn't interested in him, he married another woman years ago. Helen also has another secret admirer, Johnny (Tom Everett Scott), who isn't at all put off by the fact that Helen is twice his age. Johnny, however, is currently occupied with Jennifer (Julianne Nicholson), a fellow student who also works at the bookstore and is crazy about him. Into this tangled web of unrequited love comes an amorous letter that Helen finds in the store one day. The letter bears no signature and no address; it's at once passionate and oblique, fervent and cryptic. It's very interesting stuff. So who wrote it? And to whom was the writer planning to send it? Before long, the letter has made its way through this circle, and everyone has an idea (or a hope) of who their secret love is, although no one knows for sure or just how to find out. The Love Letter marked the American debut of director Peter Ho-Sun Chan, who enjoyed success in Hong Kong with Comrades: Almost A Love Story and He's A Woman, She's A Man. The supporting cast includes Ellen DeGeneres, Blythe Danner, and Gloria Stuart. The Love Letter may be best remembered as the only major studio film to open the same week as Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace.

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Ciaramine on October 20, 2005
Format: DVD
This quirky romantic comedy is filled with surprises. The entire cast is wonderful and the small town seaside setting with all the entanglements of small town life makes this a fun movie.

I've watched this several times and never tire of the unique storylines of lost loves and the people who find happiness when they follow their hearts.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Christina on July 12, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Guys, who will grow up to be great men, would call The Love Letter a "chick movie." That warning out of the way, for more open-minded guys and the expected predominantly female audience for this movie, it is a summer-time joy that tangos around a New England seaside town definitely in the mood for love and a comedy of errors. It takes one letter to resuscitate dreams and shake the atrophy out of emotions bogged down by time and self-consciousness. When people are missing something in their emotional life, an anonymous letter can set all sorts of possibilities into action.
I am always suspicious when a story involves a young man wooing an older woman. Kate Capshaw makes me like Helen, the emotionally alienating/alienated female lead, more than I want. Tom Everett Scott makes Johnny's gangly romantic pursuits clumsy and earnest that is that much more romantic and sexy. Ellen DeGeneres knows where the funny is in simple things like book titles and condiments. Tom Selleck does it for me in this movie by being a vulnerable, funny, handsome fireman experiencing a rough patch but not afraid to go after his dreams later in life. The Louis Armstrong and tango music set the mood, with a short burst of Tosca to contrast it and scare a character or two into action. Personally, there is one poetic little moment where the Capshaw's voice is reading how the writer "burns" with love and the fireman is coming up the bookstore staircase seeming to give off smoke as an image continues to charm me. Peter Ho-Sun Chan directed a really fun film.
So, have a summer/chick film fest with this and a few other fun films on the subject of love like Branaugh's Much Ado About Nothing, 4 Weddings & a Funeral, Roxanne, or Philadelphia Story.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Hartman on July 15, 2006
Format: DVD
Don't get me wrong...I'm as likely as anyone else looking for a "chick flick" to watch the latest Meg Ryan movie with the cute leading man....but this movie adds something extra. Instead of just dishing out the same old blather that most romantic comedies spout (girl & guy meet, girl & guy go through some conflict, but eventually guy & girl get together and live happily ever after) this movie actually takes the time to explore what makes a relationship between two people special and unique, whether that relationship is between two friends, lovers, or family members.

This movie is also great because it expounds upon the HUGE role that a person's mind plays when it comes to love and sex.

Kate Capshaw's character, Helen, is great for audience members who still haven't figured out that women are sexual beings and that it's OKAY for them to enjoy sex! (Even with a much younger man!)

All the characters remind us that even though we may not have everything figured out, you can always learn some new tricks, no matter what your age.

If you're in the mood for mindless entertainment, I wouldn't recommend this movie. However, if you're ready for a touching and romantic but still lighthearted flick, this is a good one!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Rosie on July 25, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
in a small, quaint bookshop, in which the paint is peeling from the mismatched bookcases, and the view of the sea below is as crisp and clear as it possibly can be from the wavy, leaded glass windows. Now picture coming back to this town every summer, visiting old friends, spending your Fourth of July evening at the local park. This movie is more about mood to me than anything. I watch it over and over every summer, wishing I could be a bookseller in Loblolly-by-the-Sea. I can almost smell the salty air and taste the lobster in the local restaurant. This film is a love letter to the romantic in all of us who wishes to spend time curled up with a good book (or movie) on a lazy summer day.

Capshaw is a perfect Helen. DeGeneres, a perfectly hilarious best friend. And Selleck is wonderful in this film, capturing the sensitive George. It makes me wonder why he doesn't take on more roles.

The only fault I find with this film is in the casting of Thomas Everett Scott ("That Thing You Do") as Johnny. He's a bit too mature-looking to play Helen's impetuous summer fling. No matter how many times I watch this movie, I'm never thorougly convinced he's right as the young college student.

Anyway, enjoy the film, soak up the mood, and I'll bet you'll come back again and again.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nancy R. Katz VINE VOICE on July 10, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Among readers and viewers is the age old question, "Can the movie ever be as good as the book?" And while there are some instances where books turned into movies are awful, there are also some other wonderful cases where the movie is as good as the book or even better.
It was, therefore, with great reluctance that I finally decided to view the video The Love Letter with Kate Capshaw, Tom Selleck and Ellen DeGeneres. I am first and foremost a reader and the reviews for this movie based on the wonderful book by Cathleen Schine had been rather mixed. And since I really enjoyed my reading experience of the book, I didn't want to watch anything which would later alter my initial view. So, I waited an appreciable amount of time after reading the book and was so pleasantly surprised by this delightful movie.
In my opinion it was very faithful to the book and really brought the characters to real life much as the book did. I also enjoyed seeing the confusion over who wrote the love letter and then who saw it and then the aftermath of relationships based on this letter and finally the truth about the letter.
I would certainly recommend this video and if you have extra time, read the book also.
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