Letters to Juliet (2010) Review

Letters to Juliet (2010) Review
Letters to Juliet (2010) Review 1
Letters to Juliet (2010)
Director(s): Gary Winick
Actor(s): Amanda Seyfried, Gael García Bernal, Vanessa Redgrave
Running Time: 105 min
| May 14, 2010

Very much in line with what I imagine to be the Platonic form for “chick flick,” Letters to Juliet is a formulaic love story, another of many gleaning from the original success of the Romeo and Juliet romance.

I will admit, I really didn’t want to like the movie. The first portion of the story follows Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), an American fact checker at the New Yorker who really just wants to be writing, instead – if only she had the courage to speak up for herself at the office!

But there’s more: Sophie is engaged to Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal), a selfish food-and-wine-obsessed chef who means well, but whose love for the art of cooking seemingly outweighs his love for Sophie, or rather his investment in the restaurant seemingly outweighs his investment in the relationship. We kind of smell relationship trouble right away, but it smells like delicious pasta with truffle shavings on top, so we kind of don’t really mind.

Anyway, the two embark on a pre-wedding honeymoon because after they wed, Victor will open his new restaurant, and they simply won’t have time. The destination: fair Verona.

The sprawling Italian country side, coupled with Verona’s stunning cityscapes, really do elevate an otherwise cliché love story, proving that perhaps the real eye candy here is Italy itself.

But back to the characters: While off doing their own separate tourist things, Sophie goes to visit the supposed house of Juliet, where thousands of heart broken girls from all over the world gather to beg love advice from the Capulet’s spirit, slipping their notes into the cracks of the balconied house as though it were Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall. These letters are then collected and answered by a group of Italian women who call themselves the Secretaries of Juliet.

Sophie soon finds herself accompanying an elderly woman (Vanessa Redgrave), and her handsome grandson, on a hopelessly romantic quest for true love, and getting a really great story out of it in the process.

I won’t spoil anything for you (I don’t want to give away any uncharacteristic plot twists…) but Sophie ultimately discovers far more in Italy than she initially intended.

Though admittedly cynical about the film for the entire first half, by the end I found myself getting slightly more emotionally invested in the characters than I had anticipated, or hoped to. But then Taylor Swift’s “Romeo and Juliet” invaded the soundtrack, as if the movie itself weren’t reference enough, and I’m not going to lie, it kind of pulled me right back out of it.

But that’s ok. I wasn’t planning on becoming so engrossed in the first place.

Final Thoughts
REVIEW SCORE

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