Thursday, May 20, 2010

Movie Review: Letters to Juliet

Italy is my dream destination. If given the chance (and the money), I'd go there in a heartbeat. I suppose Italy's always had the hype. It's always been a prime vacation destination, and many people's dream vacation spot. I suppose people have always been drawn to Italy and the cloud of history, romance, old country, and possibilities that cloaks it. And perhaps, I've been sucked in. Well I'm okay with that. I'd go to Italy and do all the touristy things. I might even get ripped off. But when I dream of Italy, I also dream of being in the atmosphere of it, listening to rapid fire Italian, trying not to get ran over by drivers, and finding myself in a town I don't know exists.

So "Letters to Juliet", a love story that happens in Italy. Well, you don't have to tell me twice.

Ah, Verona. The home of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet, the epic star-crossed lovers with the greatest love story I love to hate. I'm really a sucker for happy endings, and a happy ending Juliet did not have. And that's why women with love-related problems write to her, because her love story ended in the worst possible way.

Enter Sophie played by Amanda Seyfried. She's engaged and seemingly heading towards a happily ever after. Well, not really. From the very beginning of the movie we know her engagement is heading towards the cliffs. Her fiance, Victor, is a jerk who is most concerned about opening his restaurant. Victor is played by Gael Garcia Bernal and I'm sad to say that his acting in this movie fell off the cliffs. I think he literally bounced for most of his screen time (okay, maybe just shuffled a lot). The only time he calmed down was at the end. His character had an accent and that too bounced, from Spanish to French to Italian. The way Bernal portrayed Victor was unbelievable. As in I couldn't believe in the character as a person, and for the life of me I couldn't figure out how he ended up with Sophie, the sweet natured fact checker who's trying to be a journalist. She answers a 50 year old letter written by Claire, played by Vanessa Redgrave. Claire comes to Italy escorted by her grandson Charlie, played by Christopher Egan, on a mission to find her Lorenzo. Claire tags along, documenting the experience.

Seyfried, Redgrave, and Egan were fantastic. They were believable and I enjoyed watching their chemistry on screen. They nailed the bits where I laughed, smiled, cried, and held my breath. For their performance, I say go watch "Letters to Juliet" but be prepared for a bouncy fiance.

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