review for The Love Letter on AllMovie

The Love Letter (1999)
by Derek Armstrong review

It's not surprising that what boils down to a vanity project for producer/star Kate Capshaw was financed by DreamWorks, the studio partly owned by her husband, Steven Spielberg. Certainly an attractive 45-year-old, Capshaw seems to be stroking her own ego by making herself the center of everyone's affections, regardless of their age -- all of which she reciprocates with icy reserve, in a performance that smacks of blithe superiority. In another plot device aimed at making her seem younger, Capshaw's character is given not only a youthful Blythe Danner (merely ten years her senior) as a mother, but also a grandmother who's far from over the hill. But to pick too much at Capshaw's peccadilloes would be to ignore the other serious problems with this would-be magical romance. After bestowing the idyllic coastal community with the sense that nothing could really go wrong, The Love Letter makes its characters inappropriately moody and fixated, including one who stalks the object of his affections, and another who reacts to unrequited love by shaving her head. The basic premise is shaky too -- that all these characters would find the same crumpled love poem in all reaches of town, and immediately assume it was meant for them, makes them inexcusably self-absorbed. A likeable ensemble cast is wasted by the inconsistent script, which expends more energy providing them with folksy banter than with depth.