Directed by Gary Winnick (Bride Wars, 13 Going On 30) and written by Jose Rivera and Tim Sullivan, Summit Entertainment presents yet another film audiences will shamefully dig – Letters To Juliet. Starring Hollywood’s current “it” girl, Amanda Seyfried, the always impressive Vanessa Redgrave, and a sharp, quick-witted Christopher Egan (a new Brit for schoolgirls to pine for), this film is precisely what you think it’ll be.
- Director: Gary Winnick
- Producers: Mark Canton, Caroline Kaplan, Ellen Barkin
- Writers: Jose Rivera, Tim Sullivan
- Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Egan, Gael Garcia Bernal
Sophie (Seyfried), a current fact-checker and aspiring writer is spending a bleak pre-honeymoon with her workaholic-chef fiance, Victor (Bernal) in Tuscany. While he parades himself throughout Italy’s finest eateries in search of authenticity, Sophie stays in Verona where she visits “Juliet’s” charmed abode. There, she discovers dozens of letters hidden within the courtyard walls from love-struck women all over the world, and is so taken by one from Claire (Redgrave), dated back to 1957, that she responds to it. Recognizing a story opportunity, Sophie meets Claire. The two, along with Claire’s painfully uptight grandson Christopher, embark on a quest to find out which of the 74 Lorenzo Bartolinis in Tuscany is the long lost subject of Claire’s letter. Phew.
- Acceptable Cheesiness: More often than not, the term “cheesy” indicates all qualities negative. Though in the rare case of Letters To Juliet (which is tremendously cheesy) it’s pleasantly excusable. Frankly, if the leading man is a knock out and the dialogue is “cute!!!” most chicks are more than willing to allow for an unabashed pluck of the heart string. This was continually validated by the audience throughout the film via ear-shattering squeals and sniffle frenzies.
- Acting/Characters: Let’s be real, Sullivan/Rivera’s characters are written with zero novelty. We’ve got the spunky older woman, the sharp, stuck-up Brit, and the sweet, ridiculously optimistic blonde – and we met them 20 chick flicks ago. But, despite how quintessentially written these roles are, Seyfried, Redgrave, and Egan give fantastic performances. Their commitment to these arguably trite characters injects a needed dose of novelty into the material.
- Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet is indisputably the most beloved romantic tale in the history of literature. Even a shred Shakespearean flare automatically enhances any love story. The title and trailer both hint towards Winnick’s movie possibly mirroring Shakespeare’s play - though, instead, he mocks it. Every time the movie veers towards a similar story point (most notably the balcony scene) – a disaster occurs. I will confess to laughing aloud several times.
- This is tough. I’m a firm believer in taking a film for what it is. Winnick’s intention was not to make Shakespeare In Love: The Sequel. Letters To Juliet is projected appropriately: as a chick flick. And a damn good one. If your expectations exceed the realities of this genre in any way, you’ll most likely leave the theatre drenched in your own gag.
See “The Bad”.
(Note from the Editor: Didn’t buy the cheesiness, but then again, I have no heart when it comes to rom-coms)
Letter’s the Juliet will be in theaters May 14th!