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||IMDB Rating: 6.1/10 from 492 votes
||Release: 27 January 1984 (USA) /
||Genre: Drama, Thriller
||Director: Amy Holden Jones,
||Stars: Amy Madigan, Betsy Toll, Bonnie Bartlett, Brian Wood, Emma Floria, James Keach, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jeff Doucette, Larry Cedar, Lyman Ward, Matt Clark, Michael Villella, Phil Coccioletti, Sally Kirkland, Shelby Leverington
||Synopsis: A story of love and obsession. A young radio personality who, after her mother dies, discovers she had been having a love affair for 15 years. Now she finds herself recreating her mother's romance by getting involved with a married man. Written by Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).
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"Love Letters" is a remarkable and enthralling piece for many reasons.
It resists plot contrivance and genre strait-jacketing to concentrate
on character nuance, freshness of observation, and originality of
milieu. It presents it's material with clarity, intelligence, and a
refreshing lack of stylistic tropes.
Jaimie Lee plays a classical music DJ at a small, under-funded local
radio station. One of her colleagues, a kind of hip nerd typical of the
early 1980's time-frame, is played by 'Harold and Maude' star Bud Cort.
He was, amazingly, 35 at the time but looks all of 20. During an
in-studio performance by a home-made synth wizard (a delightful little
sequence) she meets married photographer James Keach and almost
immediately begins an affair. The film then follows the course of their
various assignations until the inevitably messy conclusion, and it's
ambiguous correlation with a cache of her dead mothers secret love
The film captivates with it's perceptivity. The characters seem
completely 'real', in the sense that they are quirky and human, and not
merely constructs required to advance the plot. Their actions and
motivations are often recondite, but always believable. Particularly
intriguing are Jaimie Lee's relationships with her best friend, played
by the delightful Amy Madigan, and her father (Western veteran Matt
Clark). Amy and Jaimie create a wonderful rapport: we immediately
accept that these gals are old buddies. And Clark's father is a
superbly unsettling creation. We never know for sure whether his
strange outbursts and creeping, leering presence are merely a
combination of his boozing and grief over his wife's death or something
more sinisterly incestuous.
The handling of the central sexual relationship avoids cliché and
exploitation from the first meeting. The trysts are sketched with
deftness and economy. Both leads are excellent. Keach plays it nicely
low-key as an 'artistic' photographer turned advertising man who is, in
truth, a rather selfish pseudo-intellectual bore. Curtis has never been
better than here, as a tormented, passionate, almost schizophrenic
character (just check her wardrobe changes from sensuous and stylish to
bizarrely homely). Appearing just after her reign as the 'scream queen'
of early 80's horror films, she evinces a startling, original presence,
mixing controlled physicality and strength with numerous subtle
character shadings. She's mesmerising, but somehow too unique to
suggest a conventional 'star' presence. It's a real shame that she has
not been granted such freedom since.
Written and directed by former Scorsese associate Amy Jones, who also,
as yet, has done nothing as captivating, 'Love Letters' is a most
interesting one-off. Eschewing trite corollaries and crowd pleasing
expedience, it remains a quietly forceful achievement.
Tags for Love Letters Full Movie
, Betsy Toll
, Bonnie Bartlett
, Brian Wood
, Emma Floria
, James Keach
, Jamie Lee Curtis
, Jeff Doucette
, Larry Cedar
, Lyman Ward
, Matt Clark
, Michael Villella
, Phil Coccioletti
, Sally Kirkland
, Shelby Leverington
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