The Last Letter from Your Lover ending explained – does Ellie solve the mystery of the secret affair?

By Marc Miller
Published: July 22, 2021 (Last updated: January 24, 2023)
ending of the Netflix film The Last Letter from Your Lover

This article discusses the ending of the Netflix film The Last Letter from Your Lover, so it will contain major spoilers.

Ready Steady Cut Film Critic, M.N. Miller, said about the film, The Last Letter from Your Lover is a romance that passes the eye test but is saddled with a script that doesn’t do any one thing exceptionally well.”

The setup

The Last Letter from Your Lover tells the story of Jennifer Stirling (Shailene Woodley), a 1960’s humble housewife who is living a life of luxury with her fat cat, captain of the industry husband, Laurence (Joe Alwyn, still trying to get rid of the stench of Harriet). Her life becomes the subject of a story, nearly 50 years later, when a London Chronicle reporter, Ellie (Felicity Jones), uncovers a stack of her clandestine letters.

The problem is they weren’t written to her husband, Laurence. They corresponded with Anthony O’Hare (Emma’s Callum Turner), a financial journalist assigned to cover Ms. Stirling’s husband. Jennifer is tired of her husband’s absence from her life (that has resulted in her being childless) or, in general, the way he dismisses her thoughts and feelings of a housewife who doesn’t know her place. Anthony connects with her on an intellectual level that treats her as an equal, not a subordinate

As their romance blossoms, O’Hare asks Ms. Stirling to run away with him to New York. She can’t. In the 1960s, you disused with your husband because that’s just how things are done (it can’t possibly be by the money, clothes, and comfortable living). She says no, making this homewrecker feel used. Though, she finally comes to her senses and runs after him. The problem is there is a storm and a London fog. She can’t get a cab, so some poor chap named Felipe takes her, speeding for the train station.

Well, things don’t go exactly well from there. She is involved in a car accident. That poor chap is killed, and Ms. Stirling is left injured and with a fuzzy memory. Laurence finds a letter and keeps it on his desk. When Jennifer’s memory returns, she goes through her husband’s desk and finds that letter. She demands to know why she kept it from her. He was a good guy, you see. It was Anthony who died in the car accident as well. He was just trying to spare her the grief (classy, right?)

Netflix’s The Last Letter from Your Lover – the ending explained

The Last Letter From Your Lover attempts to capture a world that treats women as subordinates and patronizes them. When Laurence tells his wife her lover is dead, it’s hard to believe him, but she does. Which, frankly, is stereotypical of women as not being able to see through this bullshit her husband put in front of her. It also patronizes the film’s audience. Either way, she faints when she sees him walking around London a couple of years later. They spend the night together, and she again refuses his romantic pleas. She leaves him in the hotel room. Why? After this second chance of chances? Because she finally has a family. A daughter. She can’t break up her “happy” home.

She confronts Laurence about his lies. It’s never said, but we all know why he did it. He didn’t want to lose his wife. His ego played a role in it as well. She threatens to take his daughter away if he ever treats her as anything less than his wife again. Of course, he threatens her. Saying he would ruin her if she attempts to take his child away. The explanation for this was the courts would not be on her side. She cheated on him, and legally women’s rights are not what they are today.

What happens next?

Jones’s Ellie confronts both decades later, though neither wants to see each other. For Anthony, the pain of never experiencing that type of love again is too much. He finally felt the pain of loss that he likely inflicted on his ex-wife by being unfaithful. It’s karma. For Jennifer, the pain of that loss could be maybe some type of shame or guilt for breaking her lover’s heart. The other could be what Anthony is experiencing — the pain is just too much to bear.

With the help of her new romantic boo (Nabhaan Rizwan), Ellie eventually convinces both of them to meet in their secret spot. A small pocket of a park near his old apartment. Now, both are old, grey, and with skin that undoubtedly has a sandpaper feel, but it doesn’t matter. She reaches out and touches his face, causing him to close his eyes and remember how good that felt decades ago.

What did you think of The Last Letter from Your Lover ending? Comment below.

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