PG for brief rude behavior, some language and incidental smoking.
Comedy and Romance
May 14, 2010
Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Gael Garcia Bernal, Franco Nero, Christopher Egan
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Letters to Juliet
By Hannah Goodwyn
- Filmed on location in Italy, Letters to Juliet takes you on a romantic discovery of true love all while showcasing the beautiful scenery that acts as the story’s backdrop. But like so many romantic comedies, this one falls short of greatness.
If you've seen the trailer for the film, you already know what’s going to happen… you still may even know if haven't watched it because the film follows the typical romedy formula. However, Letters to Juliet does have a few things going for it – namely a good cast, a fairly clean story, and some funny banter between the two leads. Besides, if you’re a romantic, it won’t matter that you know what’s going to happen, the build-up to the "aww" moments is what will keep you in your seat.
The Movie in a Minute
Finding true love becomes a journey when young American Sophie discovers a neglected letter at Juliet’s balconied wall while on a trip with her fiance in Verona, Italy. Left there in the 1950s, the letter is a confession and plea for advice signed by Claire. These many years later, Sophie decides Claire deserves an answer. And Claire, after receiving her response, travels back to Italy to find her long-lost love – Lorenzo. The problem is Claire’s overprotective grandson Charlie thinks the trip is a misguided adventure.
Letters to Juliet: The Breakdown
The city of Verona sets the stage, as it did in William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. Home of the star-crossed lovers Juliet Capulet and Romeo Montague, Verona is apparently where troubled lovers leave letters asking for relationship advice. It’s a good set up to a modern romantic story that explores the consequences of our poor decisions when it comes to following our hearts about the one we truly love.
The young leads in this tale are reminiscent of another two Shakespearean characters – Beatrice and Benedick. Charlie’s instant love-hate relationship with Sophie is heard loud and clear as the two squabble over what’s best for Claire. The wit with which the two argue – though it’s no Shakespeare – reminds me of the hilariously sarcastic bits between the stars of Much Ado About Nothing. With that said, the script is weak in a few points, offering some campy lines, especially toward the end of the film.
On the whole, Letters to Juliet boasts a solid cast, featuring Amanda Seyfried (Mamma Mia!, Dear John) as Sophie, Christopher Egan (NBC’s TV show Kings) as Charlie, and the distinguished Vanessa Redgrave (Atonement, Julia, and Mary, Queen of Scots) as young-at-heart grandmother Claire. While Seyfried and Egan hold their own, the incomparable Redgrave steals your heart.
Although Letters to Juliet is fairly clean, it does present viewers with a few instances of questionable content. The story focuses on how destiny makes things happen and brings people together, ignoring the role of God in our personal lives. Destiny brought Claire and Lorenzo together to begin with, and it will help her find him again… and so on. Also, Sophie tests the waters when it comes to cheating on her fiance (not a practice worthy of applaud – though you’ll see that her character’s relationship with her fiance isn’t that strong at the beginning). Besides these actions, the main characters blurt out a few profanities. You’ll also see tourists touching the chest of a statue of Juliet and a angry man putting up his middle finger.
In the End
Letters to Juliet is a good, clean romantic comedy. Though it offers no real depth, its lighthearted fun and "aww" moments make it a worthy film for chick flick lovers everywhere.
Hannah Goodwyn is the Family and Entertainment producer for CBN.com. For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.
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