Monday, 24 May 2010

Letters to Juliet

New Yorkers Amanda Seyfried and her fiance Gael Garcia Bernal take a pre-wedding holiday in Italy where Seyfried comes across the self-styled Secretaries of Juliet who write responses to 'Letters to Juliet'; letters left at the house of Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet fame) by love distressed women. Seyfried stumbles across a fifty years' old letter left by Vanessa Redgrave who now decides to search the countryside for her lover of half a century earlier.

I suppose this plot is fanciful enough in the style of Shakespeare's famous lovers but the contrivances needed to give effect to it make for a fairly ridiculous hour and a half of cinema. It might have been cute had the characters been appealing but Bernal's character is particularly irritating - no doubt deliberately directed that way - which made me wonder why Seyfried's character would bother having a relationship with him. The alternative leading male character, played by Australian actor Christopher Egan, is quite a twit and when eventually his character unsurprisingly softens into a love interest - and an unconvincing one at that - Seyfried's judgement in men becomes seriously questionable.

When first seen, the aforementioned 'Secretaries' seem to have little or no English language capacity but from then on they possess an almost unseemly mastery of the language at every subsequent appearance.

One redeeming element is that most of the film is shot outdoors in Italy and to a lesser extent New York so that at least there is plenty of visual stimulus. The ever reliable Redgrave is another redeeming aspect but really this film should be reserved for a rainy winter's day as background mood for couch entwined star crossed lovers.

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