HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Love Letter
HTS Overall Score:60
Love stories are about as old as time. A guy loves a girl, a girl loves a guy and they get married, or at least try to form a stable relationship. Friendships have been around just as long, and two members of the opposite sex who are best friends for life…. Well, let’s just say that the chances of one or the other falling for their friend is REALLY high up there on the probability list. Especially when said good friends are in their 20s and 30s. “The Love Letter” explores that standard cliché of what happens when two friends who have never thought about each other that romantically start looking at their relationship more seriously. Unfortunately, the superficiality of that look and clichéd ending of the relationship don’t exactly a good movie make. Insipid, cheesy and thoroughly enjoyable, “The Love Letter” is an example of how NOT to make a rom com.
Aaron (Romeo Miller) and Parker (Keshia Knight Pullman) have been best friends from elementary school (told through a flashback that has to be one of the absolute WORST examples of child acting I have ever seen), and after a freak “accident” proposal, Aaron is getting married to his girlfriend Jasmine (Erica Hubbard). This awakens some latent feelings of romance and resentment from Parker, who suddenly finds out that she has to deal with some unrealized jealousy. Both Parker and Aaron are the epitome of perfect for each other, both enjoying the same sports, the same quirks and well, are pretty much labeled as the perfect couple. Jasmine and Aaron, on the other hand, seem to fit together like water and oil, with a nice romantic infatuation but very little else in common.
Parker kind of retaliates from Aaron’s sudden announcement of marriage by agreeing to go on a blind date with a handsome, stylish, millionaire that her mother sets her up with (I’m already giggling just at that image alone), and finds herself using this man to fill the void in her life that has opened up with Aaron deciding to get married. Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where this is going. Sooner or later both people realize that they aren’t right for their respective partners and naturally gravitate towards each other in a clichéd and overly sappy ending scene.
Uggg, just ugg. I don’t mind rom coms, I actually really like them and these “Dove.org” titles aren’t always this bad. In fact I kind of enjoy many of them. The problems here are so many and so frustrating that it’s almost too much to list. To start the list, the acting is worse than even a Tyler Perry movie and the script writing is ATROCIOUS. The opening scene with Parker and Aaron as children has to be the single WORST example of child acting I have ever seen. I had oak boards that were less wooden than those two. Grown up Aaron and Parker aren’t a whole lot better, with the entire cast being basically once giant “brutha” and “sista” cliché. The whole story is as transparent as you can get, with the ending basically telegraphed from the first 5 minutes of the film when Aaron is announcing to Parker that he’s getting married. There are NO surprises to the film, and it feels like director Gary Wheeler took the rom com playbook and just copy pasted from paper to screen for every second of the movie.
For being only 87 minutes long I still felt like the movie was over two hours. With leads that have no chemistry, and writing that feels like it deserves to have even Tyler Perry turn up his nose at the offering, I couldn’t help but feel like banging my head against the wall the entire time. None of them seemed relatable in any way, and the overly sappy message about marriage and hard work just didn’t fit with what I saw on screen. I’m a firm believer in the fact that marriage is HARD work, but what was shown on screen, and what good old mommy dearest was trying to impart just didn’t jive up. Even Aaron and Parker’s questions about if it’s real just seemed superficial and ridiculously pedestrian. There is no depth to their romance, other than the fact that they’re really good friends and know each other really well.
Not Rated by the MPAA
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=53033[/img]The 1080p transfer for “The Love Letter” is a bit puzzling. A majority of the time the image is excellent. Very obviously shot on digital cameras, it has that glossy “soap opera” look to the picture, and the sharpness associated with those. Fine detail is impressive and the colors are beautifully naturally and unstylized. The problem occurs with the amateur filming techniques, as I noticed WILDLY varying looks to the film depending on the angle camera used, even in the same scene. Every time they switched camera angle the image would change, sometimes subtely, and sometimes drastically. Once angle would have a slightly warm tone, with good colors and inky blacks, and then it switch to another angle in the same scene, and the lighting would be incredibly different, with crush and boosted contrast, then switch back to original angle or ANOTHER one with a DIFFERENT look. I can understand some of the changes when switching from outdoors to indoors, but the split second changes and the wildly different looks in the same few moments was very jarring. It’s a decent transfer other than that, and quite enjoyable, but the use of fluctuating light levels and different camera qualities strained the suspension of disbelief.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=53041[/img]The 5.1 Dolby digital track is quite impressive for a low budget movie, and gives us just what one would expect for a straight up drama. The track is exceptionally front heavy with TONS of dialog throughout the movie, and that dialog is replicated beautifully. Balance between the center channel and the rest of the mix is excellent, with some very solid dynamic range for the genre. Surrounds get some mild ambient action, but nothing that will make you sit up and notice, which is the same for the LFE channel. There’s some heavy downbeats now and again, but this is mainly a low budget drama, so there really isn’t much besides some weight to the simple sounds, and some oomph to the score.
“The Love Letter” is clichéd, cheap, cheesy and certainly not something I’d recommend unless you’re REALLY into those types of films. It’s not as horrible as a Ewe Boll movie, but the amateurish level of production, writing and directing leaves an unpolished product that leaves little enjoyment for any involved. The video alone shows the amateurish level, as you compare the wildly different camera shots and poor lighting control to just about any entry in the DTV market. Audio wise, it’s a good track, but the lack of extras and the poor narratives leaves me giving a “skip it” recommendation.
Starring: Romeo Miller, Marques Houston, Terrill Patterson
Director: Gary Wheeler
Written By: Chazitear Martin
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 MPEG2
Audio: English: Dolby Digital 5.1, English DD 2.0
Runtime: 87 Minutes
DVD Release Date: August 18th, 2015
Buy The Love Letter DVD on Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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