Saturday, October 2, 2010

Letters to Juliet on DVD

I want to love Letters to Juliet, and I did enjoy it. It's imperfectly done, but with likeable characters full of heart and soul. Perhaps the plot is unbelievable and too good to be true. I don't know if there really is a wall where people write letters to Juliet asking for advice. The movie, at least, makes it seem possible, and for that reason among others, the story works, contrived as the romances of it may be.

Sophie is played by the lovely, doe-eyed Amanda Seyfried of Mama Mia. She finds and responds to a 50-year-old letter from Claire, beautifully and heartfully played by Vanessa Redgrave. Claire's grandson, Charlie (Christopher Egan; you might know him as the brother of Eragon), doesn't like Sophie leading his grandmother on a possible wild goose chase, and so the sparks begin to fly. My favorite parts are the scenes of antagonistic banter between Sophie and Charlie, and Claire pulled my heartstrings; I couldn't help but love her.

Despite the sometimes awkwardness of the plot, I could have loved the movie more fully had not it been yet another tale of a woman switching guys. At least it made sense for her to leave the one, although she should have done it far sooner. What didn't make any sense remotely was why she was with him to begin with. He wasn't necessarily a jerk...well, he was more wrapped up in food and starting a restaurant than he was in anything that interested his girlfriend at all, but she wasn't all that interested in his restaurant, so that goes both ways. This movie is clean, but I hate the implication that always comes with these types of plots nowadays that the heroine is living and sleeping with the one guy she's going to dump in the end. (In this case, she's on a pre-wedding "honeymoon"!) I mean, I'd really prefer she didn't sleep with anyone until she was married, but that she does with the "wrong" guy, even if only implied, just adds insult to injury. It makes me value the main characters less.

But Character is ultimately what carries this movie, and a beautiful setting in Italy doesn't hurt. This is, in the end, a cute story with a semi-cheesy but utterly happy ending which makes the watching worthwhile.


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