Love Letter (Iwai, 1995)

Love Letter (Shunji Iwai, 1995)

This is a very solid movie that’s biggest flaw is that it teeters on the edge of being overly sentimental. The plot outline has ‘typical chick-flick’ written all over it. A woman begins writing to her dead fiance’s old address where a woman who happens to share his name writes back. We learn that she went to school with him and she begins to write memories to the woman whom he was to marry.

love letter

Luckily, Iwai disguises this premise behind some great cinematography and performances. The actors sell this movie and make their characters emotionally sympathetic. And the light, hazy look of the film, and the many hand-held shots fit the winter setting very well. The fact that the same actress plays both women writing back and forth brings an interesting crossed identities element to the movie as well. This is definitely a good movie, but Iwai will go on to do better things later in his career.  7.5/10

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