A teenage delinquent, Maggie Fuller really has no direction in life but to mess around at school and try to market herself as an artist, along with her boyfriend. But the day that she receives a mysterious letter from a stranger telling her how much potential she has as a good person was the day that changed her life forever. Maggie’s new purpose is to discover the person who sent her the letter in order to ask him what he meant and why he sent it to her. Little does she know that her journey will lead her life in a whole new direction.
Production Quality (.5 point)
The low production quality really derails this movie. From the get go, it is evident that The Letter Writer is low budget. The video is grainy and the camera work cuts corners. The sound quality is okay, but the musical score is distracting. On the bright side, outside scenes are filmed fairly well. Yet issues with editing plague the film. There are too many wasted scenes and take away from the overall point of the story. Some scenes last too long and others make it unclear what is actually happening. One particular element, an assisted living choir singing a hymn, occurs far too often throughout the movie. In short, had The Letter Writer been afforded a better crew, this could have been a great film.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)
The Letter Writer is based on true events, and its premise is very original and creative. This sort of plot has never been attempted, which makes it even more disappointing. The central message of the movie—giving encouraging letters to strangers—is its strongest point, yet it seems underemphasized, almost like the writers didn’t know what they had. The characters are also understated, driven by vanilla dialogue. Some philosophically provoking conversations occur, but there is also some odd theology included. As previously mentioned, there are too many wasted scenes that accomplish nothing—these could have been replaced with sequences enhancing the characters and the important message of the film. But alas, we are only left to wonder what could have been.
Acting Quality (.5 point)
This cast definitely had potential that was not properly coached. While the acting is not glaringly awful, it is too obviously amateurish to be awarded too many points. Like other elements of the movie, line delivery and emotional expression are understated and do not leave a lasting impact.
The fact that The Letter Writer began as a short film even more demands that the movie should have been better. Christian Vuissa was sitting on a gold mine, but he only scratched the surface. In different hands and\or with a better surrounding team, this could have been Hall of Fame worthy. In summary, The Letter Writer joins the ranks of Christian movies that desperately need to be recreated.
Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points