Many people may disagree with this statement, but truth to the matter is, the house of Montague and Capulet is the muse of many books, songs, and movies.
|AMANDA SEYFRIED and CHRISTOPHER EGAN star in LETTERS TO JULIET. Photo: John P. Johnson. Copyright © 2009 Summit Entertainment LLC.|
The story starts out with fact-checker Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and her restauranteur fiancee, Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal), heading to Verona, Italy for a pre-honeymoon. Sophie sees the trip as one of the last opportunities to spend with Victor before he opens up his restaurant. Apparently, Victor does not get the memo. Instead, he schedules the holiday to meet up with vendors prior to opening shop.
Dejected, Sophie finds herself wandering Verona alone. Through her travails she finds her way to Juliet's balcony. She is surprised to find women writing to the patron saint of unrequited love. She lingers, hoping to write something to Juliet herself. While composing her note, she notices a lady collecting the letters from the wall. Sophie's curiosity piqued, she follows the letter collector, befriends her, and finds out that the letter collector is a member of the Secretaries of Juliet, a coalition of women that answer the letters to the wall.
Fascinated, Sophie finds herself part of the group once she finds a letter that has been hidden in the wall for over 50 years. Later in the week, Charlie (Christopher Egan) confronts Sophie for responding to his grandmother Claire's (Vanessa Redgrave) letter.
... And as you can guess, this is where the story really starts.
1. Amanda Seyfried as Sophie is charming and sweet. She exudes joie de vivre in the purest form. She is the epitome of the good girlfriend. She rarely loses her cool even when frustrated. Instead, she is level-headed, and to a fault, too forgiving of her self-centered fiancee.
2. Victor's character is very easy to dislike. I give kudos to Gael Garcia Bernal for being over the top with his character. At times, his exaggerated movement makes him more one-dimensional, but I guess it is the best he could do with the limited time he has on-screen.
3. Vanessa Redgrave as Claire was magnificent. She is very serene and poised. Her moments of being vulnerable made me feel for her.
4. Christopher Egan. Watching his facial reactions reminds me of the late Heath Ledger. Even his Aussie accent (that was supposed to be Brit) reminded me of Heath.
5. The few poignant moments that stood out: the hair-brush scene was my favorite.
With that being said...
1. read comments about Victor. The over the top performance, as I indicated, can be tiresome.
2. Charlie. His whole Darcy impersonation got old quickly. Okay, we get you're a crotchety grandson. We get that you think your grandmother is insane for wanting to find her true love. Get. Over. It.
3. The search for Lorenzo could have been shorter. We get it, there are a gazillion Lorenzos in the area. Showing us 3 or 4 incidents gives us the idea.
1. Editing: Lordy, the CGI needs work. The unity and flow of scenes should have been reviewed. There was a scene where Sophie drives with the top down, but as she emerges from the car, there isn't a hair out of place.
2. Dialogue: Sophie and Charlie had moments where the directors could have capitalized. In one instance, Charlie enters Sophie's room and catches her writing on her laptop. They banter, and the interaction between them isn't forced. There should have been more moments like this throughout the movie.
3. Length: I am a sucker for romance movies, but this movie could have been cut off at the hour and fifteen mark.
Stale Popcorn Scale: Free Rental or TV movie. Paying for it (and you're over the age of 12) is just not worth it.