iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Samara O'Shea

GET UPDATES FROM Samara O'Shea
 

Valentine's Day Special: Top Ten Letter-Writing Movies

Posted: 02/14/11 02:43 PM ET

This Valentine's Day, curl up with your lover, gay best friend, or a group of girl friends, and watch a flick that commemorates the timeless art of putting prose on paper. Here are some top-notch letter-writing movies celebrating both platonic and romantic love:

10. The Shop Around the Corner (1940) Klara (Margaret Sullavan) and Alfred (Jimmy Stewart) work together at a gift shop and can't stand each other. Their bickering is endless, yet at the same time they are falling in love through the letters they write as each other's anonymous pen pal.

9. You've Got Mail (1998) Fifty-eight years later, The Shop Around the Corner plot still holds water, except this time the two quarreling co-stars (Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks) are falling in love through e-mail. While e-mail isn't as romantic as a handwritten note, sweet nothings can certainly be sent through cyber space.

8. Atonement (2007) This movie isn't about letters (plural) but rather about one forbidden letter that changes everything between two lovers. Keira Knightly and James McAvoy are young and gorgeous in this well-styled period piece.

7. 84 Charing Cross Road (1987) Before Anthony Hopkins played a deranged serial killer, he played Frank P. Doel -- a London bookstore owner. In 1949 a woman named Helene Hanff (Anne Bancroft) wrote to Frank in search of obscure classics and British literature titles she was unable to find in New York City. The two began an epistolary friendship that lasted for twenty years, though they never meet in person.

6. Dear John (2010) An American solider (Channing Tatum) taking a short break from the war in Iraq falls for a college girl (Amanda Seyfried) while home. The two get to know each other through the countless letters they send. All is well until the solider receives the dreaded Dear John letter (twist: the character's name is John) and reenlists in the army as a way to veil his pain.

5. P.S. I Love You (2007) Holly (Hilary Swank) loses her husband Gerry (Gerard Butler) to a brain tumor and falls into a deep depression. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly ten letters -- all signed P.S. I Love You -- encouraging her to open herself up to life and love again.

4. Letters to Juliet (2010) Although the plot of the movie is fictional, it is based on the reality that roughly 5,000 people (mostly American teenagers) write to Juliet Capulet in Verona, Italy every year and volunteers called "secretaries of Juliet" respond. In the movie, an American girl (Amanda Seyfried) on vacation in Italy finds an unanswered "letter to Juliet," and she goes on a quest to find the lovers referenced in the letter. (When I retire, I'm moving to Verona to be a secretary of Juliet!)

3. The Lake House (2006) A doctor (Sandra Bullock) buys a beautiful lake-side house once occupied by a handsome architect (Keanu Reeves), and the mailbox is magic. It enables the two to exchange letters through time -- they live about a year apart. They fall in love on paper and have to get clever if they're going to be together.

2. The Notebook (2004) Although the star of this movie is the Notebook written by Allie (Rachel McAdams) to help her remember the love story of her life as she fades into dementia, let us not forget that Noah (Ryan Gosling) wrote a letter to Allie every single day for one year. That is dedication! Allie's mother hid the letters, but try as she might she couldn't stop the love between her daughter and Noah.

1. Beaches (1988) CC (Bette Midler) and Hillary (Barbara Hershey) met as preteens on the beach in Atlantic City. The don't see each other again until they're in their mid-twenties, but they go through all of their adolescent angst together by writing letters. When Hillary dies tragically young, CC takes custody of her daughter Victoria. Remember: This is the movie that bring us the song "Wind Beneath my Wings." I dare anyone not to cry while it's playing.

 
 
 

Follow Samara O'Shea on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SamaraOShea