REVIEW: Letters to Juliet

7 12 2010

The Italian countryside has got to be the single most beautiful place in the world.  Apologies to Amanda Seyfried, but “Letters to Juliet” is a romance (not even comedy) that doesn’t deserve to feature the gorgeous country in its background.  Given the quality of the script, the disillusioned lover played by Seyfried should be traversing back alleys to find the long lost love of Claire (the graceful, ageless beauty Vanessa Redgrave).

Shakespeare’s well-known tragedy “Romeo & Juliet” gets a fairy-tale romantic twist here as Sophie (Seyfried) ventures to Verona for her pre-wedding honeymoon with her all-too-occupied fiancé (Gael Garcia Bernal).  A journalist, she discovers the secret behind the letters left for the fictional Juliet in the wall of her house.  They are answered by the “secretaries of Juliet,” yet one letter manages to stay lodged behind a rock.  Sophie takes it upon herself to answer it personally, finding Claire and her well-groomed grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan).  Believing her love is still out there, they embark on a journey to find her Romeo.

From then on, all originality goes out the window and formula takes over.  Charlie and Sophie have the typical romantic arc: hate turns to not hate, and somehow not hating someone means you are in love!  If love in real life was like it is in romantic comedies nowadays, what a depressing world it would be.

Poor Claire for having to put up with their sudden infatuation in denial, and poor Vanessa Redgrave for having her name on this movie.  While it’s certainly darling that she got to make a movie that had echoes of her own life, no Academy Award winner deserves to star in something like this.  Apart from Redgrave, I struggle to find much good to say about this movie.  Italy and Amanda Seyfried look good, perhaps?  Or maybe that I would have really liked this movie if it was the first romantic comedy I had ever seen?

As Taylor Swift’s song goes, “It’s a love story, baby just say yes.”  When it comes to “Letters for Juliet,” maybe you should say no (unintentionally another Taylor Swift quote).  C-