Letters to Juliet

A touching love story at its core, Letters to Juliet reminds viewers that second chances and destiny can be mutually exclusive.

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is a young professional woman who is trying to start her journalism career at The New Yorker.  Engaged to Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal), a chef on the verge of opening his own restaurant, she embarks on a trip that will be more than she could ever have imagined.  Bucking tradition and celebrating a honeymoon in Verona, Italy before they get married, the couple have very different ideas on how to spend their time.

Sophie wants to sightsee and enjoy her time alone with Victor, while he just wants to work.  He sees being in Italy as an opportunity to meet with various suppliers for his soon-to-be-opened restaurant.  As disappointed as Sophie is, she is determined to make the most of her vacation. 

One afternoon while visiting the former home of William Shakespeare’s Juliet, she comes upon a wall filled with letters to the famous ingenue.  Visitors flock to the wall outside Juliet’s famed balcony to leave letters asking for love advice.  Many don’t expect an answer, but leave the letters in the hope that Juliet’s spirit will bring them luck and love.  After seeing a woman collecting the letters, Sophie decides to follow her so that she can see what happens to the letters.  To her surprise, Sophie  finds out that a group of women actually write people back.  The group of women are known as Juliet’s secretaries.

While helping collect the letters, Sophie comes upon a letter that had been stuck behind a rock for 50 years.  She decides that sending a reply to the writer of the letter is something she must do.  Shortly after, she receives a visit from Charlie (Christopher Egan), the grandson of the woman who wrote the letter.  He chastises Sophie for giving false hope to a woman his grandmother’s age.  She tries to explain her intentions were nothing but honorable, but he will hear nothing of it.  After learning that his grandmother, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave), is just outside she follows him so that she can meet the woman from the letter.

The two women, although generations apart, hit it off.  Following a brief conversation and disapproval from Charlie, the ladies decide that they are going to try to find Claire’s long lost love, Lorenzo.  Not realizing that Lorenzo is an extremely popular name in Italy, the group struggles to find the right Lorenzo.  Determined to help Claire find her love, Sophie spends the next week on a road trip, even though that means leaving her finance behind.  Taking part in something so romantic gives Sophie something to think about in her own relationship.

The beginning part of the film moved a bit too slow for my liking.  The setting in Italy was exquisite; the views were breathtaking and everything about the location was authentic.  The story was somewhat more original than your average cookie-cutter chick-flick, but it still was too predictable. 

The chemistry between Seyfried and Garcia Bernal was seriously lacking, but there was a definite spark between her and Egan.  Seyfried is still a relative newcomer, but she was quite striking as the lead of this film.  When she smiles, she lights up the screen.  Redgrave was so beautiful and enchanting in this film.  I truly felt that her story with Lorenzo was the heart of this film.  She gave a wonderful performance and she showed that romance is romance, regardless of your age.

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