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Letters to Juliet – movie reviews by Kate

Reel reviews for real people

Rating: PG for brief rude behavior, some language and incidental smoking.

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Christopher Egan, Gael Garcia Bernal

Plot: When a young American (Amanda Seyfried) travels to the city of Verona, home of the star-crossed lover Juliet Capulet of Romeo and Juliet fame, she joins a group of volunteers who respond to letters to Juliet seeking advice about love. After answering one letter dated 1957, she inspires its author (Vanessa Redgrave) to travel to Italy in search of her long-lost love, and sets off a chain of events that will bring a love into both their lives unlike anything they ever imagined. –© Summit

Director: Gary Winick

Running Time: 1:40

Ebert says – 3 stars “I know “Letters to Juliet” is a soppy melodrama, and I don’t mind in the least. I know the ending is preordained from the setup. I know the characters are broad and comforting stereotypes. In this case, I simply don’t care… All of this is wrapped up in unimaginably beautiful shots of the Italian countryside, the warmth of the friendship between Sophie and Claire, and visits to many of the men named Lorenzo Bartolini, which was the name of the boy Claire loved so long ago.” (read full review)

Lisa Schwarzbaum (Entertainment Weekly) says – B+ “How ridiculously romantic is Letters to Juliet? How excessively dolce is this cinematic wish-fulfillment fantasy composed as a sonnet (with a pop-song backbeat) to good wine, beautiful people, Italian vineyards, the enduring power of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and the enduring love between Vanessa Redgrave and Italian actor Franco Nero? Let me put it this way: It’s so shamelessly dreamy that not only does flaxen-haired Sophie (Amanda Seyfried, kissed by the camera), an aspiring writer with a mismatched fiancé, find true love on the sun-dappled back roads of Tuscany, but she also gets published in The New Yorker! On her first try!” (read full review)

Roger Moore (Orlando Sentinel) says – 2 stars “It’s a movie of blandly pretty “establishing shots,” Seyfried walking her lovely self across this piazza or that vineyard. Director Gary ÖWinick wrings a few laughs out of the search — “Lorenzos” both handsome and decrepit, or sadly, no longer with us. A bit of stunt-casting makes the search pay off, warmly. But the real courtship here, between the spoken-for Sophie and the doesn’t-believe-in-love Charlie, fizzles.” (read full review)

Michael Phillips (Chicago Tribune) says – 3 stars “The key to the film’s success is its lack of strain. As written by Jose Rivera and Tim Sullivan, this isn’t one of those pushy slapstick affairs; it’s more romantic than comic, and despite the corn there are no villains (not even the nattering fiance is demonized). Seyfried isn’t being tested here, exactly, any more than Diane Lane was challenged as an actress in “Under the Tuscan Sun.” But she delivers a solid and easy star performance. Some young performers lack a relatable quality; Seyfried has it, even with those old-school, big-screen peepers.” (read full review)

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