When a film can emotionally stimulate the viewer, not only while watching, but long after it has ended, is the essence of a very good story and superior movie making. “Letters to Juliet” reminded me of a high school sweetheart, with the thought of ‘wonder what ever happened to …”
Amanda Seyfried, who gained international notoriety in 2008’s “Mamma Mia” and a haunting portrayal in 2009’s suspense thriller “Chloe”, stars as Sophie, an American girl on vacation in Italy with her fiancé, who’s combined the trip as a business event as well. Sophie’s job in the states is a facts verifier for a firm. Left on her own to explore the sites of Verona, Sophie finds the ‘lovers Verona courtyard’ and the wall where the posting of ‘letters to Juliet’ has been a practice for decades. As she’s about to leave, Sophie eyes and follows a woman, who gathers the notes and letters left at the wall as she makes her way to an office that’s tucked away from the mainstream tourists path.
Inside she finds the “secretaries of Juliet” who typically answer the letters left for Juliet, a ‘lovelorn’ symbolic listener of those in love! Sophie decides to join them in answering the letters and makes regular daily trips to the ‘secretaries of Juliet’ to assist in the letter answering. One poignant letter in particular is 50 years old, and Sophie with her skill of verifying facts, decides to contact the original writer, and convinces the writer of the letter (Vanessa Redgrave) to go on a quest to find her long lost lover of so many years ago.
I’ve admired the work of Vanessa Redgrave for decades, who had the recurring role of Dr. Erica Noughton in the hit cable TV show “Nip/Tuck” for five years. Her portrayal of a person who wrestles with the aspect of reuniting with a past lover of so long ago is mesmerizing. One could see and feel the expectation of such a meeting, and at the same time, the disappointment it may bring! To watch Ms. Redgrave on the big screen again is a real delight, and her scenes with veteran actor Franco Nero take on a life of their own! I left thinking, ‘whatever happened to my high school sweetheart of so many years ago…
“Letters to Juliet”, starring Amanda Seyfried, Gael García Bernal, Vanessa Redgrave, and Franco Nero.
Directed by Gary Winick, written by Jose Rivera and Tim Sullivan. Summit Entertainment release. Rated PG for brief rude behavior, some language and incidental smoking.
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