LETTERS TO JULIET (2010)
Amanda Seyfried is Sophie, a young writer who, while on vacation in Italy with her fiance’ Victor (Gael García Bernal), stumbles upon The Secretaries of Juliet, a group of women who answer the letters that hundreds of broken hearted women write to Juliet Capulet at the place of her birth (a real life occurrence!). Sophie’s writer instincts kick in and she answers a years old letter which throws her and the letter’s widowed author Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) into a trek across Italy to find a lost love from her youth and presenting Sophie with the perfect story to use as her big break. Claire’s handsome grandson Charlie (Chris Egan) is along for the ride and we all know what’s going to happen there.
As directed by Gary Winick from a script by José Rivera and Tim Sullivan, Letters to Juliet is a predictable and formula romantic comedy, but it charms you and draws you in anyway, even thought you know how it’s all going to turn out. This cliché but fun romantic comedy set’s itself apart with it’s fairy tale-like angle of lovelorn women writing to the legendary Juliet Capulet for help and the ‘secretaries’ which answer. It presents a cast of very likable characters to get attached to and takes them on an old fashioned quest across the beautifully captured Italian countryside, to find an ages lost love and possibly a new unexpected one. Sure it’s schmaltzy, but it works anyway. We want Claire to find her Lorenzo (the legendary Franco Nero) and we want Sophie to fall for the charming yet cynical Charlie and leave her workaholic, self-absorbed fiancé. We know as soon as the plot is set in motion how it will end up, but we go along for the ride anyway. In this case it’s not the destination, but the old fashioned charm of the journey that makes it worth while. A fun, cute movie despite being so cliché and the Italian locations in Siena and Tuscany are sumptuously filmed.