The Last Letter From Your Lover (2021)
Honestly, I'm not the biggest Jojo Moyes reader. I can count the number of books I've read of hers on, well...no hands. Nonetheless, the adaptation of Me Before You still made my cold heart a little warmer, for a brief moment or two.
The same is true here, with the story of journalist Felicity Jones delving through the archives of documents bequeathed to her newspaper from it's first ever female editor, now deceased. As she uncovers more of a mysterious woman's story, we see that same woman (Woodley) as she was in the mid-sixties as her head is turned by the introduction of a new man in both hers and her husbands' lives.
Her husbands various jet-setting means she is alone most of the time and this new man helps her fill the void with what begins as polite sight-seeing dalliances which slowly becomes more, much more, than that.
What you make of this rich, bored housewife's behaviour is open to debate, but for whatever reason, she acts in a most inappropriate way, falling in love with this man who is not her rich, adoring, hard-working husband, whose letters to her make her so passionate about him and moves the modern day journalist reading them decades later to become fascinated by the relationship that these two shared.
But we shouldn't really dwell on the choices that she makes, but instead on the choices she believes she didn't have. Arguably we could just say we all didn't know better at the time and the film, and no doubt the book, champions this woman for her ability to simply choose where many of her friends would have been aghast at even the notion. Times have indeed changed, where barely a second glance would seem warranted in a time where women are, compared to only five or six decades ago, arguably more powerful than they have ever been.
And this is the trick and probably a huge sway in the demographic of the film. Morally bankrupt, heartless and prone to flights of fancy, this woman ruins the lives of others for nothing more than what? Love? Is that what she believes this really is? How selfish. Would she have behaved this way if she had children? There's a reason they need to keep this secret, save for the stoning she would get and truly deserved. Or (before all you ladies spontaneously combust) she is level-headed, an independent woman before her time, risking everything to be nothing more than happy. She is lonely and ignored, patronised by her husband and rightly yearns for more than the life she has endured. She has been exactly what she has been brought up to be, whether she liked it or not. She played her part. Now it is her turn.
I'm not going to tell you what is right or wrong as you wouldn't listen to me anyway, and nor should you. This review may read very differently depending on who is writing it, so find one you like and stick with that.
The acting was fine from the two leading ladies featured, but after that, the believability rating slopes off quite sharply. Through contemporary eyes this barely raises a brow but it is just authentic enough to pass the easily entertained, There is a pleasing score and what I can best describe as a Mills & Boon plot. It's not that ground-breaking or convincing, even when in the sixties where the majority of this is set.
Still, love conquers all. At least, that's what I've heard.