Admittedly, films like Letters to Juliet aren’t really my thing. It was names like Vanessa Redgrave and Gael García Bernal that drew me in. For better or for worse. But if you’re looking for an easy to watch romantic film — a “chick” flick, I believe they’re called — this one just might be up your alley.
In Letters to Juliet, Amanda Seyfried portrays Sophie, a fact checker by day who has dreams of being a real writer, who goes to Verona, Italy with her restauranteur fiance, Victor (played by Gael García Bernal) for a vacation that turns into a work trip for him. During her solo explorations of the city, Sophie befriends and joins a group of women who write replies to letters left for Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet fame). After finding a 50 year old letter, which she responds to, Sophie is surprised when the recipient, Claire (portrayed by Vanessa Redgrave) shows up with her aggressive grandson, Charlie (Chris Egan), to find her long lost Italian love. Sophie joins the duo on their search for Claire’s old flame.
Of course, Charlie is strongly against his grandmother’s plans to find her old love. And, of course, he and Sophie don’t get along. But throughout the road trip through the Italian countryside emotional walls come down and hearts melt. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Oh, you did? The whole while Victor is off on foodie adventures of his own and, given the lack of on screen chemistry, his character seems mostly just a plot element to offer a little resistance and drama to the inevitable ending.
In the end, Letters to Juliet is a cushy, puffy film that doesn’t really have enough humor to be a romantic comedy or enough heat to be a romance film. It’s predictable and silly with acting that’s hit or miss. But, hey, at least Letters to Juliet has got scenery that’s beautiful.