Letters to Juliet

2010-06-21 09:42
 
Letters to Juliet

What it's about:

Aspiring writer Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) takes a pre-wedding vacation to Verona, Italy, with her restaurateur fiancé Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal) who plans on buying some supplies for his new restaurant in New York. While on a walk through Verona, Sophie finds the ladies 'Juliet', who reply to the hundreds of letters from women who look to the doomed Shakespeare character for guidance in their love lives. Sophie's reply to a 40-year-old letter from the now aged Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) brings both Claire and her reluctant grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan) to Verona to find Claire's long-lost love Lorenzo.

What we thought:

That plot is a mouthful, I know. What makes it worse is that it’s also a load of boring piffle. There's only so much softcore, harmless girl-meets-boy-learns-something-about-love/life drama a girl can take before writing off the entire genre as a putrefying bouquet of cheap flowers, still being offered by the Nicholas Sparks and Stephenie Meyers of this generation. There must be some reason why the Hallmark greeting card company still does brisk business around Valentine's Day.

There's very little to endear Letters to Juliet, despite the decent cast and picture-perfect Italian locations. It's actually a complete mystery why Vanessa Redgrave, still graceful and luminous at 73, is even doing in a movie as irrelevant as this – but she proves, at least, that class counts for much more than this weak, cliché-ridden script could even aspire to.

Another gifted actor ill-served by this little dalliance is Mexican Gael Garcia Bernal who is surprisingly bland and annoying as the man destined to be dumped by our heroine. He makes a better impression in his two-second appearance in Alejandro Gonzales Iñarritu's now-famous football ad "Write the Future" in which he plays the movie version of Cristiano Ronaldo. Here he spends most of his time blabbing enthusiastically (and unintelligibly) about food and Italy and the wonderfulness of it all, while completely neglecting the, you know, romantic requirements of his doe-eyed fiancée.

Claire's grandson Charlie enters the fray in a huff of British uprightness. How dare Sophie write that letter to his dear granny and get her hopes up about some long-forgotten squeeze? It's clearly her American nosiness that's brought them there on a wild goose-chase around the Italian countryside. Of course, Charlie's bitchiness is just the contrivance to an even larger one, in which, during one magical, starlit night… oh, you know the rest already.

Seyfried, who plays Claire, is on autopilot here. After the dull nonsense of Dear John, this is precisely the type of movie she should be avoiding. She could take a leaf from Redgrave's book and find a way out of this heart-shaped hole she's found herself in.

If Shakespeare knew how Hollywood was twisting one of his most beloved tragedies…


William Shakespeare would probably regret his tragic romance if he knew it would inspire a movie as predictable, sappy and criminally boring as this.

Preshen Govender 2010/06/17 7:58 AM
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I ll watch it because of the chick
Shamrock 2010/06/17 5:25 PM
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This is honestly the worst movie I have ever seen. Don't waste your time or money.
Peter 2010/06/18 1:33 PM
My wife and I actually enjoyed the movie thoroughly. Nobody died!!Nobody was blown up or assisinated. Maybe if you had a bit of a better insight to the Italian culture with their hectic wives you might have enjoyed it a bit more but then again...we purely voicing an opinion.How much more could you possibly fit into a feel good movie. I suppose Sophie could have become a lesbian!!Would that have made it a better movie?
JK 2010/06/19 10:49 AM
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So the criteria now for a good movie is that no-one died? it would've been a better movie if someone HAD died. That awful british guy is the perfect candidate. What a booooring movie!
Jaco 2010/06/20 11:15 AM
This is a very good and honest write-up, thank you Shaheema, and I'm looking forward to reading more of your reviews. (Ignore Peter above - his comment reveals nothing about your writing/reviewing skills but a lot about himself instead.)
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