The Love Letter

  • 1999
  • 1 HR 29 MIN
  • R
  • Comedy, Romance

How trying to be the most fabulous, desirable, utterly captivating woman in a sleepy and divinely picturesque small town! That's the dilemma faced by poor Helen McFarquhar (Kate Capshaw), owner of a splendidly quaint bookstore in her adorably named hometown, Loblolly by the Sea. Helen, divorced, in her early 40s and the mother of an eleven-year-old who's...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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How trying to be the most fabulous, desirable, utterly captivating woman in a sleepy and divinely picturesque small town! That's the dilemma faced by poor Helen McFarquhar (Kate Capshaw), owner of a splendidly quaint bookstore in her

adorably named hometown, Loblolly by the Sea. Helen, divorced, in her early 40s and the mother of an eleven-year-old who's conveniently packed off to summer camp at the story's outset, happens across an anonymous love letter in her shop. Although the romantic missive alters a number of lives as

it's passed from hand to hand, it's Helen who suddenly finds herself entangled in two relationships, a tentative alliance with old boyfriend George (Tom Selleck) and a lusty romp with a handsome young college student (Tom Everett Scott) who's working at her shop for the summer. This is filmmaking

as puff pastry: Some viewers will want to lick up every sweet little crumb and others will find it cloying and twee. The picture's greatest asset is the opportunities it affords several splendid actresses of a certain age, notably Blythe Danner, who plays Capshaw's mom; TITANIC's Gloria Stuart, as

her mother; and Geraldine McEwan, who brings a delightful edge to the role of feisty local eccentric Miss Scattergoods. Ellen DeGeneres also delivers a nice turn as Helen's best friend, the sharp-tongued, thin-skinned Janet. It seems mean to take pot shots at such harmless piffle, but it

seems underpinned by a certain oblivious vanity, evident in the magical arithmetic that makes Danner the ten-years-younger Capshaw's mother (her real daughter, remember, is 25-year-old Gwyneth); Capshaw the producer's casting of Capshaw the actress as the most heavenly creature in town; and the

involvement of DreamWorks SKG (Capshaw's husband, Stephen Spielberg, put the S in SKG).

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: R
  • Review: How trying to be the most fabulous, desirable, utterly captivating woman in a sleepy and divinely picturesque small town! That's the dilemma faced by poor Helen McFarquhar (Kate Capshaw), owner of a splendidly quaint bookstore in her adorably named hometo… (more)

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