You've Got Mail

Article excerpt

Byline: Ramin Setoodeh

The postal service lost $3.8 billion last year, but at least it's still got one big booster: Hollywood. Most of us use Facebook, Twitter, cell phones, -YouTube, and blogs to communicate, but the movies are still trafficking in old-fashioned, handwritten letters. In Dear John, a soldier overseas has a gushing, epistolary romance with his girlfriend back home. Letters to God is about an 8-year-old boy with cancer who sends dispatches to You Know Who and the mail carrier who befriends him. That's not to be confused with the upcoming Letters to Juliet, about an aspiring journalist (another dying breed!) who discovers a lost "Dear Abby"-like note on a trip to Italy and responds with her own advice on love.

Some of this paper fetish has to do with screenwriters showing their age, but most of it has to do with nostalgia. You can't pack the same narrative punch with e-mails, because we don't associate technology with voice (unless that digitized voice-recognition-speak does something for you). …