The Letter Writer

  • Review Date: April 7, 2014
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 86 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Positive messages about giving; some heavy themes.
  • Review Date: April 7, 2014
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 86 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The Letter Writer offers strongly positive messages about community and connectedness. It also highlights positive intergenerational relationships, and the importance of having a central goal or talent in life, something to be productive toward in a daily way to feel like you're making a contribution. It also stresses that being giving and kind will come back to you in positive relationships.

Positive role models

Most adults are engaged and present. Many teenagers are supportive friends and demonstrate empathy and compassion, while others are dishonest. There are a few instances of undesirable behavior, such as when a teenager suggests cheating to her friend to get through a tough math class; later, the friend is shown doing so on the next test. In a few scenes, a teen steals money from her mother's bureau drawer. In instances of cheating and stealing, the character in question is caught and owns up to the behavior, and works to earn back trust.

Not applicable

Two teenagers kiss in a car briefly.


A mother often uses harsh tones and insulting language toward her daughter, only communicating criticisms.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Letter Writer is a tale of adolescent journey to maturity with extremely positive messages that involves a few scenes of cheating and stealing. Both involve consequences and owning up to the incident, but with additional heavy themes of death, illness, loss, and struggling parenting, it's more suitable for older kids.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

What's the story?

Maggy Fuller (Aley Underwood) doesn't think she's that great of a person. Her mom (Pam Eichner) never says anything nice to her and her relationship with her dad is nonexistent since the divorce. She's not doing so great in school, and isn't always honest. But when she receives a letter from a stranger named Sam Worthington (Bernie Diamond) telling her words of encouragement about her value in the world, she sets out to learn about and from him, ultimately finding out what it means to be truly connected to other people.

Is it any good?


THE LETTER WRITER is a well done, if sentimental, family flick with a positive message: That what we put out in the world, good or bad, comes back to us in spades, and it's important to find our talent to help people. To follow our hero to this message, we see some heavily wrought types and scenarios -- the overworked single mom, the troubled adolescent, the unreliable dad, the child cancer patient, the reformed senior citizen who spends the rest of his years making up for a harsh tongue through writing uplifting messages to strangers.

But due to excellent acting and nice-looking cinematography, this movie's good heart shines through, and manages to craft a message about connectedness that, while obviously rooted in Christian thinking, has an overall Zen approach to living that involves simply finding purpose in life and living with some kind of positive meaning that embraces goodness. Because of its themes of divorce, illness, death, and the few instances of cheating and stealing, this film is better for older kids. One disappointment was that the mother's harsh criticisms of her daughter were treated as acceptable until the daughter got her act together; this felt like a misstep. Overall, parents can appreciate the realistic portrayal of teen struggles with a positive message about growing up. Kids into music may appreciate the aspiring artist plot. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about community. Who are the people who make up your community? What sorts of things do you do to help each other?

  • What would you say is your biggest talent? What sorts of things do you want to do with it?

  • Do you ever write or receive letters by hand? Who are they from or to? What sorts of things do you write about? Consider writing a letter to a friend or family member you haven't spoken to in a while. What might your letter say? 

Movie details

DVD release date:November 6, 2012
Cast:Aley Underwood, Bernie Diamond, Pam Eichner
Director:Christian Vuissa
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Friendship, Great girl role models, High school
Run time:86 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Letter Writer was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byMc876423 January 13, 2015

The Letter Writer

It was a fabulous movie!!!!!!!!! Even though it has a scene of the main character cheating in a math test and stealing money from her mom it has lots of positive messages and as the movie goes on the main character matures. There is death, illness, loss, and struggling parenting but overall though it is a great movie for tweens and teen.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential Apps Guide