Helene Hanff (Anne Bancroft) is a writer and booklover who lives in New York. She loves British literature and finds it hard to believe that her beloved British authors are so difficult to find in the United States. She searches and searches, only to be quoted exorbitant prices when books she wants happen to be in stock. Finally, she gives up and sends a query letter to Marks & Co, a used bookstore in London, England (located at 84 Charing Cross Road - hence the movie's title). Helene soon receives a reply from the bookstore's manager, Frank P. Doel (Anthony Hopkins); he writes that the store does have most of the books on her list, and they can ship them to New York for her. The books are very affordable, too. Helene orders again; she feels that Frank is a booklover like herself, so she shares her comments and thoughts about the books she has received. Frank responds in the same way; their correspondence, strictly business at first, turns into friendship, although they never meet in person. They just keep writing... for 20 years.
Based on a true story, this movie is a treat for those who like films with substance, not driven by plot twists or special effects. I loved hearing these thoughtful and witty conversations of two intelligent people, watching their lives take their course through the years. I also appreciated seeing how much we can impact someone from so much afar: when she learns that England experiences food shortages (the timeframe is post-WWII), Helene starts sending care packages to Frank and the rest of the store employees. She receives heartfelt thankyous, but we get to see the full scope of happiness her gifts bring to those people - people she does not even know.
I highly recommend this unconventional movie. If you think there is nothing special in watching two people writing letters to each other, you will be surprised.