The ‘Last Letter From Your Lover’ director shares the hidden parallels between Ellie and Jennifer that you probably missed

The last letter from your lover side by side of ellie and rory (left) with anthony and jennifer (right)
Netflix’s ‘The Last Letter From Your Lover’ premiered on July 23. Parisa Taghizadeh/Netflix; Parisa Taghizadeh/Netflix

Frizzell used “repeating patterns” and “repeating visual elements” to connect Ellie Haworth and Jennifer Stirling.
Ellie haworth on the phone (left) jennifer stirling smiling in yellow dress (right)
Ellie Haworth and Jennifer Stirling in ‘The Last Letter From Your Lover.’ Parisa Taghizadeh/Netflix; Studiocanal/Netflix
In Augustine Frizzell’s “The Last Letter From Your Lover,” Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones) unearths forgotten love letters from the ’60s while on assignment as a London Chronicle features writer. Enraptured by the exchanges, she scavenges for answers about their authors.

Her research transports her deep into the past, leading her to Jennifer Stirling (Shailene Woodley), an American expat that has an impassioned extramarital affair with Anthony O’Hare (Callum Turner), the foreign correspondent tasked with profiling her husband. 

It may seem like Ellie, a modern-day woman closed off from love after the “soul-destroying” end of an eight-year relationship, and Jennifer, a ’60s socialite smitten with a man that’s not her husband, are the leads in two entirely separate stories. 

But Frizzell told Insider she placed subtle details throughout her adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ 2010 novel that unify the story, despite its dual narrative structure.

“The biggest thing that we tried to do, that we felt would be helpful in stitching these two stories together, was just repeating patterns and repeating visual elements in a way that you might not notice them when they’re happening, but might sit in your subconscious and help you create the parallels between them,” she told Insider.

The awning outside of Ellie’s office matches Jennifer’s lounge chair in the French Riviera.
Awning with stripes matching jennifer stirling's chair in the last letter from your lover
Shailene Woodley stars in ‘The Last Letter From Your Lover.’ Netflix; Netflix
In one of Ellie’s earliest scenes, she drives by the London Chronicle office, which is situated next to a café with a yellow-and-white striped awning.

Frizzell said they intentionally matched the awning with Jennifer’s yellow-and-white lounge chair in the South of France.

Anthony and Ellie work in the same newsroom.
Newsroom scenes in the last letter from your lover
‘The Last Letter From Your Lover’ is available to stream on Netflix. Parisa Taghizadeh/Netflix; Netflix
The ’60s actors’ schedules only overlapped with the modern-day cast for one day, and it was when they were both filming their respective newsroom scenes, Frizzell said.

The director went on to confirm that the cast and crew used the same space for Ellie and Anthony’s office, which makes sense considering both journalists write for the London Chronicle, just in different decades.

Though there are minor lighting and decor changes between the scenes to mark the gap in time, the green floor-to-ceiling poles make the setting recognizable in both eras.

The pattern on Jennifer’s headboard closely resembles Ellie’s bedroom wallpaper.
Jennifer stirling last letter from your lover on the left, ellie haworth on the right on phone in bed
Jennifer and Ellie have similar geometric patterns in their bedrooms. Netflix; Netflix
In Jennifer’s lavish London home, her bed has a fabric headboard featuring a blue-and-gold geometric pattern. 

Frizzell told Insider that the light-blue wallpaper behind Ellie’s bed is “very similar” to that design. 

The women wear houndstooth-patterned dresses in back-to-back scenes.
Ellie haworth standing on left and jennifer stirling on right in matching dresses
Ellie and Jennifer in ‘The Last Letter From Your Lover.’ Studio Canal/Netflix; Netflix
In the fateful moment that Jennifer decides to leave her husband (Joe Alwyn), she wears a tailored houndstooth dress.

Too focused on meeting Anthony at the train station to change, she keeps the outfit on as she rushes through the rainy London streets. Eventually, authorities find her in the dress after her getaway car crashes. 

The very next scene jumps forward to the present time, and Ellie is sprawled on the archives’ floor searching for more love letters.

Frizzell pointed out that she’s in a black-and-white houndstooth dress, like Jennifer in the scene prior.

And both Ellie and Jennifer don long trench coats, albeit in different colors.
Ellie haworth in gray trench coat (left), jennifer stirling in beige trench coat (right)
Ellie and Jennifer wore similar garments throughout ‘The Last Letter From Your Lover.’ Netflix; Netflix
When Ellie goes to the post office to inquire about the PO Box on Jennifer and Anthony’s letters, she shows up in a long gray trench coat. 

And in one of the movie’s later scenes when Jennifer rushes into Anthony’s newsroom, she wears a similar style of coat, though hers is beige. 

“We have so many little things like that,” Frizzell added after drawing the connection between the characters’ outerwear.