Letters to Father Jaakob Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 6 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Letters to Father Jacob is a warm-hearted and touching story of Leila, a life sentence prisoner who has just been pardoned. When she is released from prison, she is offered a job at a secluded parsonage; she moves there against her will. Leila is used to taking care only of herself, so trouble is to be expected when she starts working as the personal assistant for Jacob, the blind priest living in the parsonage. Every day the mail man brings letters from people asking for help from Father Jacob. Answering the letters is Jacob’s life mission, while Leila thinks it’s useless. Leila has already decided to leave the parsonage when the letters suddenly stop coming. Jacob’s life is shaken to its foundation. Two completely different lives are intertwined unexpectedly, and the roles of the helper and the one being helped are turned upside down. (Olive Films)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Reviewed by: Alissa Simon
    The director's magisterial control over the proceedings makes something fresh and heartrending out of predictable material, particularly for older, thoughtful audiences.
  2. The kind of film that makes a truly lasting impression despite its brevity.
  3. 75
    Letters could be dismissed as a soap opera, but that would be unfair to this beautiful work. It features tender performances by Kaarina Hazard (Leila) and Jukka Keinonen (Jacob), as well as beautiful cinematography by Tuomo Hutri.
  4. 70
    By the time Leila's brow furrows in concern for the father, the film has absolutely earned its tug at your heart.
  5. Letters transforms a picture-postcard location and odd-couple narrative into a pretty, and pretty predictable, snooze. Yet the acting is flawless, the tone gentle and observational, and Leila's transformation, when it occurs, is unforced and unaccompanied by pious lecturing.
  6. There's only one thing worse than a leaden moral fable that tackles issues of forgiveness with sledgehammer contrivances, and that's one that attempts to mask its manipulative corniness with an air of trumped-up gravity.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jun 8, 2011
    A sparse movie set in Finland's bleak countryside. A tough, arrogant, disdainful woman is freed from prison and is offered work helping a priest with his correspondence. He is blind physically, and she is blind morally. His affliction is permanent, hers..... well that's what the movie will lead us to. There are 3 actors, all connected by the mail. Only one treasures it, and that is Father Jakob who dispenses sage biblical advice to parishioners along with charity. The parolee is disdainful, and throws much of his mail away to lessen her task (reading and responding), but the priest's sanctity wears her down. Then there is the mailman who is frightened of the parolee ( a murderer) and soon he avoids coming altogether. When it turns out the mail to the Priest is actually drying up the parolee makes up her own letters, and in effect confesses her crime and it's context to father Jakob who gives her a gift that saves her.
    It's a powerful, simple morality tale, and while we know where it's probably headed the journey is worth taking.
  2. Jul 26, 2013
    A film of beautiful stillness and emotional clarity. Not a journey of narrative surprises or superficialities; just forceful performances on a story of catharsis that filled our whole house with serenity. Expand