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The Love Letter (1999)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 21 May 1999 (USA)
2:29 | Trailer
The life of a provincial town becomes stormy after the appearance of an anonymous love letter.


Peter Ho-Sun Chan


Cathleen Schine (novel), Maria Maggenti (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Kate Capshaw ... Helen
Blythe Danner ... Lillian MacFarquhar
Ellen DeGeneres ... Janet Hall
Julianne Nicholson ... Jennifer
Tom Everett Scott ... Johnny
Tom Selleck ... George Matthias
Gloria Stuart ... Eleanor
Bill Buell ... Officer Dan
Alice Drummond ... Postal Clerk
Erik Jensen ... Ray
Margaret Ann Brady Margaret Ann Brady ... Selma
Jessica Capshaw ... Kelly
Walter Covell Walter Covell ... Post Office Customer
Patrick Donnelly ... Bookstore Customer
Lucas Hall Lucas Hall ... Garbage Man


The power of words and images to open hearts. Helen runs, miles a day, to burn off energy: she's an emotional celibate. Going through the post at her shop, she finds a romantic and poetic letter between the couch cushions, unsigned, and thinks it's for her. It melts her resistance to feelings, and soon she undertakes an affair with Johnny, a collegiate employee. (He sees the letter and thinks she wrote it to him; he quotes some of it, so she thinks he wrote it to her.) In the background are Helen's long-time friend, George, who loves her, and her mother who abruptly left on a long trip months before. Discovering who actually wrote the letter brings insight and promise. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


No one knows who sent it. No one knows who it's for. But everyone's getting the same message.


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 on appeal for some sensuality, nudity and strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Blythe Danner plays Kate Capshaws mother, yet is only 10 years older than her in real life. See more »


Johnny jumps in the ocean with his socks on but when he emerges seconds later his feet are bare See more »


Miss Constance Scattergoods: I do think, dear, that, whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until it passes over.
See more »


References Old Yeller (1957) See more »


Presto, su! Mario! Mario!
From Tosca
Composed by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giuseppe Giacosa & Luigi Illica
Performed by Slovak Philharmonic Chorus & The Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony (as Czecho-Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra)
Courtesy of Naxos of America
By arrangement with Source/Q
See more »

User Reviews

Let us be clear, The Love Letter is a delightful film
12 December 2007 | by inkblot11See all my reviews

Helen (Kate Capshaw) owns a bookstore in the sleepy, coastal town of Loblolly by the Sea. Divorced, Helen has a young daughter who is going to camp for the summer, giving mother a bit more freedom. Working at Helen's store are the manager, Janet (Ellen DeGeneres), a man-crazy village-gossip girl who has eyes for the handsome fireman, George (Tom Selleck), and two young college students, Jennifer (Julianne Nicholson) and Johnny (Tom Everett Scott). One day, Helen stumbles across a romantic, tender love letter and she suspects that Johnny has written it for her. Throwing caution to the wind, Helen and Johnny begin a small-time "thing". But, the letter subsequently lands in others' hands, including Janet's, who thinks George has sent it to her, and Johnny's, who imagines Helen has penned it for him. And, on and on the letter goes. But, in truth, George possibly has eyes for Helen and Jennifer has fallen hard for Johnny. The town's museum curator, too, may have a secret love. Will tangled affairs like these ever straighten themselves out? This is a cute movie with a gorgeous setting and capable stars. Each of the main actors gives a pleasing performance, including the addition of Blythe Danner and Gloria Stuart to those mentioned previously. Then, too, the coastal scenery is most lovely, the costumes quite well-chosen, and the photography very nice indeed. There are a few surprises, including a subtle gay plot development, which may not please all viewers. But, for those who love romantic comedies, this one should be included on any list of good choices for the genre.

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Release Date:

21 May 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Love Letter See more »

Filming Locations:

Gloucester, Massachusetts, USA See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,692,819, 23 May 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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