The Love Letter (1999) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Love Letter (1999)



Critic Consensus: Poor character development and scripting hamper any romantic chemistry.

The Love Letter Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

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. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: PG-13 (for some sensuality, nudity and strong language)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Directed By: ,
Written By: Maria Maggenti
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 23, 1999
DreamWorks SKG


Bill Buell
as Officer Dan
Alice Drummond
as Postal Clerk
Walter Covell
as Post Office Customer
Patrick J. Donnelly
as Bookstore Customer
Lucas Hall
as Garbage Man 1
Christian Harmony
as Garbage Man 2
Christopher Nee
as Garbage Man 3
Sasha Spielberg
as Girl with Sparkler
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Love Letter

Critic Reviews for The Love Letter

All Critics (73) | Top Critics (24)

You're left wishing you'd never opened this letter.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Although the movie's affection for its characters is refreshing, none of them stirs our passions.

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Where it should soar with humor or longing, it merely skips along -- a stream of surprising and somewhat forced revelations.

January 1, 2000
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic

Capshaw is cold and charmless!

January 1, 2000
New York Post
Top Critic

If only there were something sharp and pungent - besides Ellen DeGeneres' wisecracks - to keep you from drifting off.

January 1, 2000
Top Critic

In a no-role role, Mr. Selleck appears beefy and dull.

January 1, 2000
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Love Letter


I actually enjoyed this movie. I admit I did have to start it over once about 10 minutes into the movie because I wasn't really paying attention and so I didn't know what was going on. The character of Johnny did make me uncomfortable though with how posessive and pushy he seemed to be. It certainly wasn't a brilliant movie but it was quirky.

Megan S

Super Reviewer

Just okay. I watched for Ellen and Tom Selleck and they were both very loveable.

Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer


A great movie!

Leo L

Super Reviewer

The Love Letter Quotes

Eleanor: Helen, can I borrow your car? That Jaguar is so unreliable.
– Submitted by Frances H (3 years ago)
Janet: You can't fuck a letter, Helen.
– Submitted by Frances H (3 years ago)
Johnny: How can you be celibate if you're a virgin?
– Submitted by Frances H (3 years ago)
Miss Scattergoods: A thinning gene pool is a terrible thing to witness. AH, civilization's crowning achievement--cocktail hour!
– Submitted by Frances H (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Love Letter on our Movie forum!