Letters to Juliet

Poised to attract a female audience prone to a good-looking cast, a potent dose of romantic fantasy and an extremely picturesque Italy, Letters to Juliet delivers what was expected of it. And nothing more.

The story begins with fact-checker Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) who leaves New York for a pre-wedding honeymoon cum business trip with her restaurateur fiance Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal) in Verona, Italy. However, upon reaching the romantic country, Victor chooses work over his gorgeous fiance. So poor Sophie roams the streets alone and wanders into a garden where teary-eyed ladies travel from all over the world to consult "aunt agony", or in this case, Shakespeare's Juliet, through their letters left plastered on a brick-wall. Curious, she follows – we would later and quickly come to realise she has the habit of doing – a woman who collects the letters in a basket and discovers the Secretariat of Juliet, a group of women who personally answers each and every single letter. Sophie ends up answering a 50-year-old letter she finds missed between bricks on the wall. And when the letter's English writer, now-widowed Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) responses to her letter, she tags along in the adventurous search for Lorenzo (Franco Nero), alongside her pompous and protective grandson Charlie (Australian actor Christopher Egan).

Now, it sounds all dandy yet heartwarmingly sweet. It is and it would've been perfectly fine if not for the overkill of terribly cheesy dialogue and the lack of chemistry between the two leads. Right at the end when Sophie told Charlie: "It's really painful", I was earnestly nodding my head in agreement. Just a couple to illustrate my point: "Do you believe in destiny?" and "True love is never too late".

A redeeming point comes with the thrill of viewing the performance of real couple Oscar-winning Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero, who fell in love in 1966 on the set of movie muscial "Camelot" but only rekindled their love affair recently in 1996. Another comes in the form of pretty, saucer-eyed Amanda Seyfried but Dear John (with letters) and Mamma Mia (with Meryl Streep instead of Vanessa Redgrave) would've been better bets. Oh, and of course, the beautiful Tuscan scenery.

But that's about all. So, if you really love your own Mr Right, give him a break and spare him this movie on date night.

Related link: Letters to Juliet official site, Letters to Juliet Trailer, Dear John movie review

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