by Cherszy (@cherszy)
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has always been a classic when it comes to literature, but in Verona (Italy), there’s more to Juliet than just another fictional character. She’s someone who gives guidance to women who are lost and confused lovers. They write to her, and then she responds with beautiful advices. But, of course we know Juliet is just another girl whom Shakespeare named, so a group of women who call themselves “the secretaries of Juliet” or “The Juliet Club” dedicated their lives in replying to the hundreds of letters that women write to the famous Juliet.
And so we find the beginning of a romantic quest from this old Verona tradition in Gary Winick’s latest film, Letters to Juliet, where Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) volunteers to help out the secretaries of Juliet on her trip to Verona and finds herself writing back to a letter dated 50 years ago. While she helps out Claire Smith (Vanessa Redgrave), the woman who wrote the letter five decades back, find her one true love after all these years, Sophie realizes that it’s not just Claire who’s about to find her true love but also her.
Letters to Juliet is just like your typical cheesy love story. It may not be as ordinary and as easy as the ‘boy meets girl, girl meets boy, then they have a happy ending’ kind of story, but the scenarios were cliché and the ending was very predictable. There wasn’t much to anticipate in the film because you know what’s going to happen next, but what’s nice about it, even though it’s cliché is that it’s very sweet and light that you wouldn’t mind watching it even though you clearly know where the story’s going in the end.
The absence of intense conflicts makes the film relaxing to watch, that’s why it doesn’t get you frustrated even though it looks like a movie you’ve already watched before, only with different actors and with different character names. A smooth flow in the plot adds to the softness of the film. There’s not much tension going on, and with the film lasting only for almost an hour and a half, you won’t really get into the mood of being excited, so it’s really a good watch if you’re simply passing time.
But, I must say, Letters to Juliet is another film that will be easily forgotten. There’s nothing distinct about it that would make you remember it after a month or so. It’s a romantic movie like any other out there. Actually, it’s even a little less of a romantic movie because there was somehow a lack of chemistry between the two leads (Amanda Seyfried and Christopher Egan). In fact, you’ll feel more of the romance between the two old lovers (Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero) than the two younger ones.
So what exactly was beautiful about the film? The sceneries! They’re breathtaking! The views of Verona and Siena are truly amazing! So, okay, maybe there is something we would remember about this movie. When you look at the vineyards, the mountains, the beautiful city… you’ll just go “Italy’s really, really pretty”.
Overall, I’d say Letters to Juliet is a good watch, but it’s not the most interesting and not the most brilliant. And honestly, I was really disappointed. I expected a lot more from it. I was actually looking forward to see some unexpected stuff to happen. I just hoped that they strayed away from the usuals in a cheesy romantic movie, but it looks like they sticked to the basics. So, it’s just sad because they really picked an interesting subject as their central theme. The writing-to-Juliet tradition is something cool, so I think they should have given the plot a little more effort.
Well, looks like neither Romeo nor Juliet would be proud with this movie.