Friday, June 18, 2010

Letters to Juliet - Movie Review


Starring Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Egan, Gael Garcia Bernal, Franco Nero and Oliver Platt.
Directed by Gary Winick.

First of all, romances have to be given the trappings of their genre. I hate to call it a romantic comedy, since it's not funny, just supposed to make you smile once in a while. But romantic drama makes it sound like one of them has to die at the end. Anyway, the trappings involve two people who are meant to be together, and we know we're going to spend the movie keeping them apart until the last few minutes.

The two things that stood out for me that made this an above-average entry into the genre was 1.) Italy, and 2.) Vanessa Redgrave.

The whole movie takes place in Italy, in and around Verona, and scene after scene made me want to visit. Meanwhile Amanda Seyfried is wisely making sure every other project she does has some great veteran actresses to work with and learn from. She was Meryl Streep's daughter in Mamma Mia!, and here she's Sophie, a fact-checker for The New Yorker who is trying to help an old woman (Vanessa Redgrave, playing a vivacious 70, not a get-off-my-lawn 70) reunite with a lover from fifty years ago.

Christopher Egan (Eragon, NBC's Kings) is her twit of a grandson who comes along to help her find him, complaining the whole time this is a bad idea. We know even though Sophie's engaged to an enthusiastic chef (Gael Garcia Bernal) that that isn't going to work out somehow, and Grandson's going to calm down and fall in love. But even though those are the plot mechanations, it's not really "about" that.

Dang, I need to visit Europe sometime.

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