That is what it felt like to spend two hours of my life watching the sickly sweet and very predictable shenanigans of Sophie (Amanda Seigfried). The over played skyline of New York feels like a stuck record as it yawns across my screen, how many times have I seen that ? Sophie struts across Central Park, screaming down the phone with hundreds of calls coming in at the same time, the anticipation builds, what's her job whispers around the auditorium, the audience is on the edge of their seat, the tension is nail biting, "This is Sophie Hall from the New Yorker", wow she's a journalist for the New Yorker, she continues to warble on " Hi Mr Field thank you for calling me back, no I'm not a writer" I'm sorry what was that, not a writer, NOT A WRITER? I felt betrayed how could she be so heartless but it gets worse much worse, "I'm a fact checker actually it is a bit like being a detective" stop right there, she's at it again, nowhere in the job description does it say a "a bit like being a detective".
The film Letters to Juliet is a Rom- com fans' utopia: bad acting coupled with an unrealistic story line makes for a box office hit. The story line is simple and unimaginative but is slightly more creative than the average tripe that seems to hit our cinema screens more often than not these days.
Sophie and her boyfriend Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal) head off on a pre- wedding honeymoon to one of the most cliché cities, Verona, where Romeo and Juliet first fell madly in love. Sophie is left to go sightseeing on her own while Victor finds suppliers for his restaurant. She visits the humble fictional abode of Juliet, in front of her stands a wall crammed with letters from people broken, saddened or destroyed. Sophie stays for hours in the garden when she notices a woman delicately plucking away the letters. So intrigued is Sophie that she starts to stalk this lady crazily through the winding narrow streets of Verona - she ends up at the offices of the secretaries of Juilet, women who have nothing better to do then to write back to the heart broken teens pretending to be some 17 th century Shakespearean character who died at the end of the play. The old hags, as I like to call them, were so terrifyingly hideous that I had nightmares for weeks. Their faces looming in the darkness howling with laughter.
Sophie is taken under their wing when she finds a 50 year old letter which she replies to only to get caught up in a chase across the mountainous Italian countryside for the letters author Claire Smith (Vanessa Redgrave) first love Lorenzo (Franco Nero) Sophie accompanies Claire and her grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan) on this frivolous adventure. The most enjoyable part of the film by far is the many toothless, hunched and wrinkled Italian men who fall for only to be turned away by her cold English attitude. Half way through the film I had to leave and get a mourning veil so as to mourn the loss of the great romantic comedies such as When Harry met Sally.
Gary Winick successfully directs a stereotypical rom-com giving romantic comedy haters a perfect example of what they despise. Yet again Winick has directed a film that promises so much more then it delivers if it weren't for the fame of the actors (which he always seems to rely on) he would not have been as successful as he portrays a poor badly scripted badly acted and most importantly badly directed failure of what could be a box office hit.
Seyfried performs surprisingly well, although her characters somewhat be loving trait is so mollycoddling it gets to the point where you want to rip her head off, she works well with an undesirable script and seems to be acting rather then playing a needy version of herself.
Egan's performance leaves a lot to be desired his portrayal of a repressed English male at its best it lacks realism and at its worst is cliché ridden. He is awkward and overacts to the point where you have to look away so as not to feel too embarrassed for him, overall his presence detracts from the film.
This film is a stain on the resume of Vannessa Redgrave, her performance is sad, compare this a trashy story of lost lovers to her heart stopping performances in Mary Queen of Scots and Julia, for a BAFTA award winning actress this is a sell out.
I would say there are some touching moments in this film but overall it has a quixotic plot, Lorenzo comes riding through the vineyard on a stallion for Gods sake and I forgot to mention that both Lorenzo and Claire have sadly (and conveniently) lost their partners so they are free to love again. It lacks verisimilitude and creativity. Almost every event is predictable, it is a sad example of the detreation of the genre.