Is there an expiration date on true love? If so, how should it be? In the DVD release of Letters to Juliet, a hopeless romantic searched for a true love story and found more than she bargained for.
Juliet followed aspiring writer Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) who traveled to Verona, Italy for a working vacation with her busy fiancé Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal) as he prepared to open his own restaurant. Instead of spending time with Victor, Sophie was forced to spend most of her vacation alone. She ended up going to Juliet Capulet’s house on one sight seeing trip and was fascinated by the many visitors writing letters about their romantic problems to Juliet. She also met a group of women who write back, known as the Secretaries of Juliet. While she helped them out, Sophie stumbled upon a letter written in 1957 about a young girl who ran away from her first love and regretted it. Sophie sent a reply fifty years later and was surprised when she got a response. She met the letter’s author Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) and her disapproving grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan) who didn’t want to see his grandmother hurt. Claire was inspired by Sophie’s letter to find her long-lost lover Lorenzo (Franco Nero) in an effort for a second chance. Sophie and Charlie accompanied Claire on her mission as Sophie and Charlie’s bickering underlined a growing attraction that Sophie’s relationship with Victor lacked. He was also too focused on work to notice Sophie was gone. The journey helped thaw the tension between Charlie and Sophie as they tried to make sure Claire ended up getting her second chance with Lorenzo. Will she find Lorenzo before it’s too late? Will Sophie choose Victor or Charlie to be her one true love?
Even though a happy ending was clearly expected, Letters to Juliet excelled based on the rapport between Redgrave and Seyfried. Redgrave’s character took Sophie under her wing and inspired her to open her heart to love and in her writing as well. Redgrave seemingly tapped into her personal pain to give Claire a sense of hope and sadness at the same time as she tried to enjoy herself in her search for Lorenzo. She regretted that so much time had passed, but she wouldn’t change a thing because it made her the person she was today. A particular touching scene was when Redgrave was comforting a crying Seyfried by brushing her hair. It was a simple but honest moment between kindred spirits. In terms of the story, the film did run into some romance movie stumbling blocks by how love can triumph over age and time zone differences, but it was still enjoyable nonetheless. It was also refreshing to watch real life couple Redgrave and Nero give viewers an unofficial glimpse of how time and distance didn’t affect their true love. The scenery was also breathtaking to watch and almost made the audience want to consider booking a flight to Verona immediately and find their own Lorenzo.
Verdict: A sweet but familiar film that touched on how it’s never too late to find happiness.
DVD Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Movie Rating: PG
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)