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Movie Review: Letters to Juliet (May, 2010)

Director: Gary Winick
Screenplay: Jose Rivera, seek Tim Sullivan
Release Date: May 14, 2010
Actors: Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Egan, Franco Nero

So, I’m slightly behind. I’m trying to catch up with the movies I have seen, so here I go, with the movies yet to be released. (No one wants to hear about the movies that have already been released, do they?

Letters to Juliet is your typical romantic comedy. Girl is with boy, meets another boy, falls in love with another boy. Nothing about this movie is unpredictable, which is not at all surprising. The movie however, is surprisingly delightful, once you can get over how cliche everything is.

Amanda Seyfried stars as Sophie, the main character of the film. She’s a fact checker for The New Yorker, who aspires to be a journalist one day. She is engaged to a soon to be restaurant chef Spaniard Victor, who is extremely busy with his restaurant opening that before his restaurant opens, they decide to take a “pre-honeymoon” off to Verona, Italy. After arriving in Verona and being whisked from one winery, or factory, or plantation to another by Victor in order to pick the best ingredients for his restaurant, Sophie decides she wants to stay behind while he meets with potential clients.

One day, as she goes exploring around the city, she discovers this wall where people leave notes for Juliet Capulet, the main female character in Shakespeare’s famed “Romeo and Juliet”. She soon discovers a group of woman who actually take the time to reply back to every letter, acting as Juliet’s secretaries, and while doing so, she stumbles over a letter written to Juliet 50 years ago, by a woman named Claire Wyman (played by the graceful Claire Wyman). Sophie then decides to reply to Claire, which unknowingly to her, starts an adventure that changes her life.

After receiving Sophie’s letter, Claire decides to meet Sophie, along with her very handsome grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan), who is belligerent about Claire’s quest to find her true love Lorenzo Bartolini that she ran away from. Sophie and Charlie get off on the wrong foot, but things begin to change as their quest to find Lorenzo continues.

The simple existence of Vanessa Redgrave gracing the screen elevated what would have been an okay romantic comedy and added a classic feel to it. As my boyfriend mentioned, it was a movie that reminded him of “Under the Tuscan Sun”, which he also had enjoyed. I feel this one was more enjoyable, mainly because Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, and Christopher Egan are all equally talented and comfortable to the eyes. The trio had really good chemistry, and Christopher Egan and Vanessa Redgrave are amusing with their banter. Egan’s Englishman is perfect, one which would make you think he had some sort of stiff upper lip. Amanda Seyfried, as expected, was very effective as her role as Sophie. Had this been any other actress, I’m not sure if it would have been as successful. Her career has taken off ever since Mamma Mia! (though I fondly remember her playing Veronica’s best friend Lily from Veronica Mars). Another interesting story is between the actor who plays Lorenzo – Franco Nero, and his wait for his real life love, Vanessa Redgrave.

One of the highlights that could be considered a character, would be the sights of Italy – specifically Siena, Soave, and Verona. It made me want to travel to Tuscany. When Sophie and Charlie were having their gelato cones, it made me want to take a bite out of their ice cream!

Letters to Juliet is simply charming. I can’t really recall any other movie that has the same underlying plot as this film, but of course the romance was fairly typical. You watch this movie because you want a feel good film with a few laughs. Don’t expect a shocker, or a twist ending. The ending was a bit *too* cliche for me (I’ll save everyone from spoiling it), but it was really quite enjoyable and not overly cheesy up to that point.

So, if your significant other is a romantic, they might enjoy this one. As usual, I think for anyone who enjoys a really good chick flick and enjoy the sights and sounds of Italy, Letters to Juliet is for you. It’s hard to criticize a film when all the actors are terrific in it, and the surroundings are just so beautiful. On the other hand, there isn’t exactly anything special about it except for the fact that Vanessa Redgrave certainly elevates it from the standard romance to a really enjoyable one.

For an enjoyable night at home, with your girlfriends, or the perfect date. I personally, thoroughly enjoyed it. 3.5 Letters / 5 Letters

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