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The Letter [DVD]

2.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Martine Jamison (Winona Ryder) is a NY theatre director beginning rehearsals for a new play starring her boyfriend opposite a young beauty. As rehearsals continue, Martine has periods of disorientation that quickly deteriorate into vivid hallucinations as she becomes convinced Raymond is trying to poison her. As Martine's mental state devolves, she begins to rewrite her play...and art and life become inseparable.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: September 25, 2012
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008JQGR2M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,356 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Thomas M. Sipos VINE VOICE on November 14, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What a mess! No real story, just a collection of confused and confusing, disjointed scenes.

What was writer/director Jay Anania not thinking?

Winona Ryder portrays a playwright who is apparently going insane. How much is in her mind? What's real and what's not? Has she been drugged? Or not? Many possibilities are suggested, but we never really learn any answers. I suppose that's meant to be profound?

THE LETTER has many closeups, and even extreme closeups. Yes, Winona Ryder looks lovely in her closeups. If you want a collection of Ryder images for your screensaver, then this is the DVD for you. But if you want a film that's entertaining, or even coherent, you must look elsewhere.

As in many of her past films, Ryder: 1. Does voiceovers, 2. Plays a writer, 3. Plays a Crazy Girl.

Alas, ever since her excellent Girl, Interrupted, Ryder's too often been typecast as The Crazy Girl. She sometimes plays other types (e.g., the also excellent When Love Is Not Enough), but isn't often enough given the chance.

And what an awful title -- THE LETTER. So generic. The IMDB lists 28 films titled THE LETTER just since 2006.

THE LETTER actually reminded me of the much better Nightmares (Totally Uncut & Uncensored), a 1980 slasher film, because NIGHTMARES is set amid a really bad, pretentious play, much like that in THE LETTER. Except that NIGHTMARES parodies the sort of pretentiousness found in THE LETTER.
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Format: DVD
Five very attractive actors make love to the camera... A tedious play within a tedious movie... Visual beauty abounds... Coherence does not...

I bought this movie by accident ... rather, I chose not to return it when it arrived in the mail instead of the Bette Davis movie of the same title I thought I had ordered. It looked interesting so I kept it, and finally I decided to give it a viewing. Too bad I opened the package, thereby sabotaging my opportunity to return it...

Still, there are intriguing ideas contained within this mess of a movie... if only writer/director Jay Anania had figured out how to clearly convey what he wanted to say, and had made more of an effort at plotting (and given it the serious shot of adrenaline it needed)... there is a fascinating picture struggling to be released from this footage! Although I can't recommend this work, I have to admit that I couldn't stop watching. I was waiting for something to happen that made sense, and I think I got at least a portion of the idea, but it was too little, too late. This was a tragic waste of talent, because it's all on display here: good acting, gorgeous photography and appropriately moody music. But the sum did not equal the promise of the parts.
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I enjoyed the simplicity of this movie with a cast of talented actors and their dedication to making the film as real and quirky and strange as it came off. I also liked the general foreplay throughout, leaving the audience waiting for what the heck was going on with Winona's character. It was entertaining and everyone played their parts well..it got strange and offputting at the end, but all in all, I recommend seeing it at least once.
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Format: Amazon Video
The Letter is noir drama with an amateur feel (done intentionally?) and Lynchian vibe. Many people have disliked this movie; I can see why, but I go the other way. It is partly a matter of taste, as to whether or not you like films that have in them subtexts and hidden meanings; it is also partly a matter of execution. I think the Letter works well enough on both counts (not great but quite good). On a first viewing, I was expecting something more trippy and less cerebral, so I did not get much until the reveal at the end. The second time around I picked up much more. I think if one goes into the film treating it like a mystery or detective show, where you want to be reading people and guessing about them from the get-go, then the Letter will make for a much better view. Recommended to those who have a taste for the psychological.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Here is another atmospheric, nuanced, mature psychodrama from the perceptive and skillful Anania -- and you'd only be human to be stifling a yawn about now. Actually it's riveting, the way Altman and Hartley can be riveting, but just because Anania knows his stuff won't mean that anyone will care. He does know his stuff though; this is the most accurate of the many recent films to tackle schizophrenia, and it's also the most accurate about "theater people." But we're still in the very outer margins of fringe culture here, and not even Altman or Hartley at their most subtle ever seemed to flirt so heavily with complete irrelevance. Like recreating the Sistine Chapel in frosting on a carrot cake. So, I'm still rooting for Anania, as I have been since Her Name Is Carla if not before, but more like the way I root for certain esoteric indie bands, in full acceptance of the fact that they're never going to record Stairway to Heaven, not even by indie standards.
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