Predictable 'Letters to Juliet' still cute, enjoyable

"Letters to Juliet" — 3 out of 5 pitchforks

Many great authors have had their famous characters bare their souls in letters, from Mr. Darcy to Albus Dumbledore. Although the characters in “Letters to Juliet” do the same, the film itself decided to bare its whole plot in a trailer.

On a pre-wedding honeymoon in Romeo and Juliet’s Verona, aspiring writer Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and her oblivious cuisine-obsessed fiancé Victor (Gael García Bernal) spend more time apart than together. While sightseeing, Sophie discovers Juliet’s Wall, where people leave letters to their loved ones, and finds ‘Juliet’s Secretaries’ who respond to them.

Sophie decides to help and replies to a 50-year old letter from Claire (Vanessa Redgrave), who asks Juliet if she should go back to her true love, Lorenzo. When Claire and her grandson show up in Verona a week later, they team up with Sophie to find Lorenzo and reunite the lovers. Amidst the wild goose chase to find Lorenzo, destiny seems to change Sophie’s honeymoon plans. But, if you have seen the trailer, you already knew that.

If “Letters to Juliet” were not mildly entertaining at all, it would still be worth seeing just for the scenery. Audiences are taken on a journey through the fabled town of Romeo and Juliet in addition to the countryside of Tuscany. One can imagine how effortless it must have been for director Gary Winick to capture the beautiful land on film and the cinematography itself is equally pretty. Luckily the movie has more going for it than just the scenery and cinematography, hopefully motivating those craving for a taste of Italy to not just rent “Under the Tuscan Sun” instead.

Although Seyfried and her male counterparts Bernal and Christopher Egan may not be this century’s Romeo and Juliet, audiences cannot help but fall for all of the characters.  Screenwriters Jose Rivera and Tim Sullivan may have wanted Sophie’s fiancé to appear distant and uncaring, but with Bernal’s performance, they instead get scatterbrained and adorable. Seyfried is sweet and charming in yet another letter-inspired movie as well.

At one point in the picture, Bernal wishes aloud that he could be a mouse in a room of cheese, but it is Egan’s character that saves the film from becoming too cheesy. His uptight and pessimistic character provides sarcastic banter with Seyfried just when “Letters to Juliet” is about to get sappy, with all the destiny and love talk.

One thing the trailer does not reveal is that Redgrave and her dozens of Lorenzos steal the show with some of the funniest parts of the movie. Audiences will hold their breath every time Claire knocks on the door of the next potential Lorenzo, but will laugh at ridiculous events that take place when they turn out not to be her knight in shining armor. All of the Lorenzos wish to be her love and audiences will surely love her too.

The previews for “Letters to Juliet” do the film justice — it is cute and entertaining, as well as visual eye candy. Those who have seen and enjoyed the trailer are in store for a predictable, yet enjoyable movie and those who have not are in store for a completely surprising, yet still enjoyable movie.

Reach Stephanie at slrusso@asu.edu


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