Sunday, October 10, 2010

Letters to Juliet (2010)

Letters to Juliet

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

Director: Gary Winick

Writers: Jose Rivera and Tim Sullivan

Release Date: May 14, 2010 

Running Time: 105 minutes

Synopsis: An American girl on vacation in Italy finds an unanswered "letter to Juliet" -- one of thousands of missives left at the fictional lover's Verona courtyard, which are typically answered by a the "secretaries of Juliet" -- and she goes on a quest to find the lovers referenced in the letter.

Flick Facts:

* Juliet's secretaries really do exist. They are called the Juliet Club and they volunteer to reply to letters left in Verona, as well as organize events in honor of Romeo and Juliet

* Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero, playing starcrossed lovers in this film, are a real life couple.

* Hugh Dancy was originally cast as Victor but dropped out and was replaced by Gael Garcia Bernal.

* Ashley Lilley who played Patricia is Amanda Seyfried's best friend and also appeared with her in Mamma Mia! (2008). 

* In this film and in Mamma Mia! Amanda Seyfried plays characters named Sophie.

* Letters to Juliet was filmed in and around New York City (Bryant Park and Manhattan) and Italy (Siena, Tuscany, Verona, Veneto and Soave).

* The film's estimated cost was $30 million; its total domestic gross was $53,051,260 million.

She Said, He Said:

* "I'm sorry, I didn't know love had an expiration date." 

* "Charlie doesn't approve, which makes it all the more fun!"

* "What's so romantic about eating in the dirt?"

* "It's over!  We're done!  We've found Nemo!"

* "I would have grabbed her from that blasted balcony and been done with it."

* "Dear Claire, What and If are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: What if? What if? What if? I don't know how your story ended but if what you felt then was true love, then it's never too late. If it was true then, why wouldn't it be true now? You need only the courage to follow your heart. I don't know what a love like Juliet's feels like - love to leave loved ones for, love to cross oceans for but I'd like to believe if I ever were to feel it, that I will have the courage to seize it. And, Claire, if you didn't, I hope one day that you will. All my love, Juliet."

Chic Chick Sounds:

The Letters to Juliet soundtrack takes you to the vineyards and marvelous landscapes of Italy, providing a wonderful listening experience.  Bella! 
"You Got Me"

Written by Colbie Caillat and John Shanks
Performed by Colbie Caillat

"Chianti Country"
Composed by Reg Tilsley

Written and Performed by Andy Georges

"Un Giorno Così"
Written by Massimo Pezzali
Performed by 883

"Per Avere Te"
Written by Romano Rizzati and Sergio Tocci
Performed by Franco Morselli

"Quando, Quando, Quando"
Written by Tony Renis and Alberto Testa
Performed by Laura Jane (as Lisa Jane) and Chris Mann

"Variations On A Theme By Mozart (Magic Flute) Op. 9"
Composed by Fernando Sor, Arranged by Jim Long

Written by Ferdinando Arnò and Luigi de Crescenzo
Performed by Malika Ayane and Pacifico

"Per Dimenticare"
Written by Matteo Maffucci, Thomas De Gasperi, Enrico Ciarallo, and Danilo Paoni
Performed by Zero Assoluto

"Sono Bugiarda (I'm A Believer)"
Written by Neil Diamond
Performed by Caterina Caselli

"Guarda Che Luna"
Written by Gualtiero Malgoni
Performed by Fred Buscaglione

"Love Story"
Written and Performed by Taylor Swift

"What If"
Written by Colbie Caillat, Rick Nowels and Jason Reeves
Performed by Colbie Caillat

I love Italy.  I have not yet gotten there but it is on my bucket list and until my feet are actually on Italian soil, I love movies that take place in Italy or have an Italian connection.  Letters to Juliet fit that bill perfectly.  The scenery was beyond luscious, an absolute virtual postcard - - just to die for.  If nothing else, the landscaping and stunning photography makes the movie worthwhile. 

Romance lovers will delight in this story, particularly ones who have a Shakespeare affinity.  The idea behind Juliet's Secretaries is lovely and the story Rivera and Sullivan dreamt up using it as inspiration is rich and inspiring.  Sophie and Charlie make a classically mismatched-on-the-surface pair and both are young, earnest and incredibly attractive.  Claire and Lorenzo cover the over-twentysomething set with a mature and enduring love story that will move the most impossibly passive moviegoer. 

Best Parts of Letters to Juliet: Italy, Italy, Italy.  The locale and photography is so scrumptious if you can't book the next flight to Verona, you will at least be hankering for your favorite pasta dish and a glass of wine. 
Worst Parts of Letters to Juliet: The obstacles keeping Sophie and Charlie apart are stereotypically cliche and can give Letters to Juliet a formula feel.

Spawns and Sequels:  Letters to Juliet has spawned no sequels (nor should it) but it does have a connection to one of the greatest love stories put to paper, Romeo and Juliet.  

Other Italy-based love stories include Roman Holiday, Only You, A Room With a View and The English Patient.

The Final Word:  I went to see Letters to Juliet in the theater, expecting some nice, enjoyable entertainment.  I got that, plus a renewed itch to visit Italy and a beautiful respect for Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero, who basically steal this film away from the younger Amanda Seyfried and Christopher Egan.   How wonderful to have a love story that focuses on a couple in their sixties/seventies who are still vibrant, active and very much in love!  I thrilled on the story of a 50 year old letter that was finally answered, and two hearts that were still aching for the other.   I saw this movie with a girlfriend over 40 and we were both delighted.  I rewatched it on DVD with my niece who is 14 and she was just as pleased with it.  A strong, satisfying romance for teens, young adults and 30+, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Letters to Juliet and it's definitely good for repeat viewings. 

Letters to Juliet is available for purchase at major retailers, including Amazon.


  1. Thanks for your review! Missed this in the theater but will be watching it on DVD very soon!

  2. Oh wow. I want to see this.

    I desperately want to see Italy too.

    It's right at the top of my bucket list :)

    Thanks for the amazing review.

    Now I'm longing for this movie and Italy ;)

  3. I'm a sucker for chick flicks, but this one just didn't interest me for some reason. But based on your review I just might give it a chance.

  4. I didn't know you had other blogs! I just saw this one recently with my mom. I am a big Amanda Seyfried fan after seeing Mamma Mia (also recently). I felt the same as you about the romance between the young couple being cliche. It could have been better. I would have loved if Hugh Dancy was the lead opposite Amanda! I look forward to coming back here and checking out more of your reviews!!

  5. Awesome post.