History of Love Letters

Laura Jean Covey and Peter Kavinsky return this month in the premiere of the third movie To All the Boys: Always and Forever. In spirit of Netflix’s favorite couple, it’s important to recognize where their relationship began. Do you remember all of Laura Jean’s love letters, that she wrote in the first To All the Boys? Her and Peter K most likely wouldn’t be together now, if it hadn’t been for the letters. 

Love letters have played a significant role in media and our lives for centuries. From soldiers at war, writing to their loved ones; to Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved, these letters tell parts of history in their own, unique way. As the form and content may change with time, the idea behind this way of communication has not. Writing love letters has allowed people to express their true, deep emotions, and share the most vulnerable parts of themselves.

Early examples of love letters in entertainment, can be seen through the works of Shakespeare. In Romeo and Juliet, who could forget the pair’s famous letters? Or in Hamlet, and his letter to Ophelia? Hamlet comforts Ophelia, telling her to never doubt his love.

“Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move, Doubt truth to be a liar,

But never doubt I love.”

Shakespeare used love letters as an opportunity to clearly demonstrate to the audience, the what was going on in the relationships and how the characters feel directly. 

Movies today have adapted the idea of the love letter, and still incorporate it into their films. Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling) in The Notebook (2004), had written a year’s worth of love letters, to the girl he loved (Rachel McAdams).

“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that’s what you’ve given me. That’s what I’d hoped to give to you forever.”

The last letter to Allie he had written. She looked it over while having to choose between a relationship with Noah and someone else. Reading Noah’s letter made all of his feelings clear to Allie, leading her to decide on him.

Letters to Juliet (2010) is a movie with a story that revolves around love letters. On a trip to Rome, a girl named Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) discovers unanswered letters from a woman in the 1950s. 

“Oh please Juliet, tell me 

what should I do. 

my heart is breaking and I have 

no one to turn to.”

After finding the author of the notes, they set on a trip to rekindle her long-lost relationship. The letters bring together new and old friends in this film, and make for a great story.

And of course, in To All the Boys, the movies all started from Laura Jean’s secret love letters. If her secret love letters had never been revealed, her and Peter’s relationship definitely wouldn’t have started the way it did, or at all possibly! 

“That’s what I love about you. Because everyone does love you. Including me. I do. Always and forever. Here are all your best qualities:”

Laura Jean spills her heart out in these letters, but it was definitely worth it. Besides sparking her relationship with Peter, her letters also brought her some close friends.

“I never met a boy with manners as good as yours. You ought to have a British accent. At homecoming, you wore a cravat and it suited you so well I think you could wear one all the time and get away with it.

Oh, Lucas! I wish I knew what kind of girls you liked.”

Her letter to Lucas didn’t result in love story. However, the two did become close friends.

All thanks to love letters, people have been able to find a way to display their feelings and connect closely with others. They have carried emotion over great distances for lovers, and hold those feelings in pages timelessly. The form of the letter has evolved with time, turning from pages, to digital texts and emails. The new ways may be rather untraditional to some, but this way of communicating, will always play an important part in romantic relationships, on and off screen.

What’s your favorite story involving love letters? Tell us below! And be sure to watch To All the Boys: Always and Forever, which premiers on Netflix February 12th.