2020s

Soundtracks of Cinema: ‘The Last Letter from Your Lover’

Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack

The Last Letter from Your Lover soundtrack includes music from Haim, Marianne Faithful and Aretha Franklin. This info article contains minor spoilers for the 2021 Netflix film. Read more streaming guides in the Soundtracks of Cinema section.

Supervised by Matt Biffa, The Last Letter from Your Lover soundtrack mostly features 60s-era mainstream music. To begin, however, the 2021 Netflix film begins with a little Haim, as a modern day London journalist named Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones) attempts to balance her personal and professional lives. The primary storyline centers on a late-60s affair between socialite Jennifer Stirling (Shailene Woodley) and foreign correspondent Anthony O’Hare (Callum Turner); a tale that connects with Ellie’s blossoming relationship with archivist Rory McCallan (Nabhaan Rizwan). The Last Letter from Your Lover soundtrack includes an emotive slow jam from the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, along with a retro dream-pop hit from the legendary Marianne Faithful. Here’s how the collective songs are utilized in Augustine Frizzell’s Netflix adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ 2008 novel.

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “Cherry Flavoured Stomach Ache” by Haim (00:06:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack - "Cherry Flavoured Stomach Ache" by Haim

When Ellie says goodbye to her one-night stand, Andrew (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd), Haim’s “Cherry Flavoured Stomach Ache” plays at the tail-end of the sequence and continues as Jones’ character arrives at work. The lyrics correlate with Ellie’s loneliness and willingness to move on from the past. The song plays again in The Last Letter from Your Lover during the main credits sequence.

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “Summer Wine” by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood (00:20:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack - "Summer Wine" by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood

“Summer Wine” scores a flashback sequence in The Last Letter from Your Lover. Jennifer and her husband Lawrence (Joe Alwyn) enjoy a road trip, which thematically links to lyrics about “passing the time.” In the 70s timeline, Woodley’s character tries to remember how she met “Boot.”

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “La Partida” by Helios Fernández (00:30:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack

After Anthony apologizes to Jennifer, he joins her and Lawrence for lunch. The song instrumental highlights the simmering tension between the focal lovers, and foreshadows their romance later on in The Last Letter from Your Lover.

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “This Little Bird” by Marianne Faithful (00:37:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack - "This Little Bird" by Marianne Faithful

“This Little Bird” amplifies the dream-like qualities of a beach sequence in The Last Letter from Your Lover. Jennifer sets her gaze on Anthony, who flirts back while posing in the sand.  At this point, both character have an idealistic vision of the future and a potential romance.

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “Lonesome” by Velvet Dos (00:42:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack - "Lonesome" by Velvet Dos

As Ellie reads texts while working, “Lonesome” functions as the background music. The song title aligns with the character’s perspective, and the music itself is drowned out by her inner dialogue. Still, the track teases Ellie’s romantic interest in her research partner, Rory.

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” by Aretha Franklin (00:44:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack - "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man" by Aretha Franklin

“Do Right Woman, Do Right Man” scores an apartment sequence in The Last Letter from Your Lover. It’s used as a mood-setter at first, and then ramps up when Jennifer contemplates kissing Anthony after his fresh shave. The lyrics about “flesh and blood” correlate with the humanity of the two protagonists, who recognize their mutual attraction.

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “What’Cha Gonna Do ABout It?” by Doris Troy (00:49:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack - "What'Cha Gonna Do ABout It?" by Doris Troy

During a club sequence, Anthony and Jennifer enjoy each other’s company after sharing a first kiss. The sassy lyrics of “What’Cha Gonna Do ABout It?” are from the perspective of a woman who acknowledges a crumbling relationship, but the title itself parallels the protagonists’ point of views in The Last Letter from Your Lover. In the moment, they’re confident enough to publicly flirt at Alberto’s — a business owned by the man who will ultimately die in Jennifer’s accident. The song plays again during a climactic flashback sequence, just moments after the protagonists reunite after 50 years apart.

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “Straight from the Heart” by Irma Thomas (00:50:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack - "Straight from the Heart" by Irma Thomas

At Alberto’s, Anthony and Jennifer have a steamy moment near the cloakroom. The dark lighting captures the intimacy of the sequence, while the song “Straight from the Heart” gets straight to the point. Previously, the characters had just enjoyed each other’s company in The Last Letter from Your Lover. Now, they take their relationship to the next level with a sexual encounter.

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “Give You What I Got” by Wendy Rene (00:53:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack - "Give You What I Got" by Wendy Rene

“Give You What I Got” plays when Jennifer reads a letter from Anthony at the post office. By now, both characters have accepted their affair, which is underscored by the song’s lyrics — “I’ve made up my mind” and “I’m gonna give you what I got.” The track continues as Jennifer arrives at Anthony’s door for another sexual fling in The Last Letter from Your Lover.

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “Ain’t Love Good, Ain’t Love Proud” by Jimmy James & The Vagabonds (01:06:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack - "Ain't Love Good, Ain't Love Proud" by Jimmy James & The Vagabonds

When Ellie and Rory relax at a night club, the former suggests that it’s time for a “birthday dance.” The pair then boogies to the dance song “Ain’t Love Good, Ain’t Love Proud,” which leads to an intimate moment that feels right for both characters, even if they seem awkward. It’s another teaser sequence in The Last Letter from Your Lover that sets up the inevitable first romantic encounter between Ellie and Rory.

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “Love to Know” by Marine Girls (01:08:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack - "Love to Know" by Marine Girls

After the nightclub sequence in The Last Letter from Your Lover, Rory takes Ellie to his apartment. The song is straight-forward, as both characters get to know each other better during a romantic sequence; however, the track also adds some extra character detail for Rory, an avid record collector who presumably had been listening to the song before Ellie turned it back on upon arriving.

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “Carol of the Bells” by Crouch End Festival Chorus / City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (01:21:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack - "Carol of the Bells" by Crouch End Festival Chorus / City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra

“Carol of the Bells” scores a pivotal moment in The Last Letter from Your Lover, as Jennifer spots Anthony four years after learning about his alleged death. She initially faints and then has a sexual encounter with her former lover before deciding to move on with her life. The song begins as present-day Anthony recalls the last time he saw Jennifer.

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack: “Johnny Boy” by Melanie (01:29:00)

The Last Letter from Your Lover Soundtrack - "Johnny Boy" by Melanie

“Johnny Boy” plays just before Jennifer confronts Lawrence about past lies. She listens to the song alone, with the lyrics about a woman’s crashing world paralleling her frame of mind. The song abruptly stops when Jennifer decides to demand the truth.

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The Last Letter from Your Lover soundtrack also includes “Rêverie, L. 68: Reverie” by François-Joël Thiollier and “Little Fang” by Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks.

Q.V. Hough (@QVHough) is Vague Visages’ founding editor.

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