Letters to Juliet (2010)

It’s never a bad thing when you laugh the whole way through a movie, which is exactly what happened whilst  watching Letters to Juliet. The film is not a comedy though. I’m afraid to say my friends and I were laughing at how unbelievably bad and predictable the film was. Yes it’s a chick flick romance and these types of films always contain predictable elements: a happy ending, a romance which starts with a few bumps but ends up smooth sailing, and a love rival, but seriously, there’s such a thing as good scriptwriting which can at least make a predictable plot enjoyable. Clearly the team behind Letters to Juliet don’t believe in making an effort with scripts. I genuinely believe that I could have written better dialogue, and I don’t claim to have any script writing experience or talent.

The concept behind the main story is actually rather sweet. On a pre-honeymoon to Verona, Sophie (Amanda Seyfreid) comes across the lengendary wall and balcony where Romeo supposedly courted Juliet Capulet in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. Women from all across the world visit the attraction and write letters to Juliet asking her for help. These letters are then replied to by a group of women who call themselves ‘Juliet’s secretaries’. Sophie finds a letter from fifty years ago that had gotten lodged in a gap in the wall. The letter is from a confused young british woman called Claire who has just jilted her fiancee because she was afraid her family would disapprove of the match. Although the woman will now be an old lady, Sophie decides to reply to the letter; an action which leads to the chain of events that take up the rest of the film. On receiving this late reply, Claire jumps on a plane and comes to Verona hoping to find her long lost love Lorenzo and apologise to him for her cowardice.

Nice simple storyline. Where did it all go wrong?

The two main men in the film were completely unbelievable and ridiculous. Christopher Egan plays Claire’s grandson Charlie with one of the stupidest British accents i’ve ever come across. Instead of trying to sound like a normal english person, it’s like he’s trying to impersonate a member of the royal family. It’s not obvious why he is talking so posh, since his grandmother’s accent is nothing like that. During the course of the film he is supposed to go from rude and offensive to charming and kind, but this transition does not work at all and although he comes across as slightly more likeable than his love rival, he’s really just the better of two evils. Gael Garcia Benal plays Sophie’s fiance and considering he’s proved himself to be a magnificent actor in films like The Motorcycle Diaries and can’t be short on work offers, I have no idea what possessed him to get involved in this film. This is the first English speaking role i’ve seen him in and I can only hope the next is better, as he really was terrible. He plays the role eccentrically and over the top, but he does this so excessively that it’s hard to comprehend why Sophie got together with him in the first place. To be fair, he was working with a poor script though.

Some of the dialogue was so bad that I couldn’t help but laugh in disbelief. In the pivotal scene where Charlie and Sophie declare their love for one another, Charlies doesn’t just say ‘I love you’, but makes a ridiculous speech about loving her ‘madly’, ‘deeply’, ‘passionately’. Pass me a bucket please. Even the soundtrack was predictable and cheesy. Taylor Swift’s song ‘Love Story’ was played during the happy ending. Need that bucket again.

rating: 2

Starring: Amanada Seyfreid, Christopher Egan, Vanessa Redgrave

Dir: Gary Winick

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