This is a beautiful looking and tiresomely predictable movie. There is the girl, Sophie, who works as a fact checker in The New Yorker and dreams of becoming a writer. Her fiancé is Victor, a workaholic chef who is opening his restaurant in six weeks. The two go for a pre-honeymoon (whatever) to Verona.
Victor, busy going to vineyards, smelling cheese and attending wine auctions, has no time for Sophie, who goes sightseeing in Verona. She arrives at Shakespeare's Juliet's house and realises lovelorn people still write letters to Juliet. The city of Verona has hired a bunch of women, who call themselves Juliet's secretaries, and reply to all the letters.
Sophie replies to one of the letters written by an English girl, Claire Smith-Wyman, more than 50 years ago. On receiving the letter, Claire comes to Verona with her grandson, Charlie, in search of her lost love.
In the cross country trip across Italy looking for the right Lorenzo, Charlie and Sophie begin by hating (yeah, right) each other. All is well in the end with true love triumphing, the modern day Romeo climbing the balcony to claim his love.
This is the kind of movie that would have looked excellent on paper — two love stories, one from the Fifties, one millennial set in fair Verona against the backdrop of the greatest love story of them all, but fell flatter than yesterday's papad in execution. Everything is so predictable, it is not funny.
Anyone who reads Bourdain knows how stressful it is to open a restaurant in the brutal environs of New York. And when you have a chef that looks as good as Gael García Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries, Babel), you stay with him through sick and sin and not run after wimpy Brits, played by the Australian Chris Egan.
Amanda Seyfried who we last saw in Mamma Mia pouts becomingly as Sophie but that's about all we can say for her. Vanessa Redgrave who was so much fun as Max in Mission Impossible here has to make misty eyes for various Kodak moments as Claire.
Though Letters to Juliet is not as terrible as director Gary Winick's last outing, Bride Wars, it has nothing going for it except for some stunning locales and luminescent cinematography (Marco Pontecorvo).
Letters to Juliet
Genre: Rom com
Director: Gary Winick
Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Chris Egan, Vanessa Redgrave, Gael García Bernal, Franco Nero
Storyline: A girl goes to Verona and through a fifty-year-old love story untangles her love life
Bottomline: Pretty looking and incredible boring
Keywords: Romantic comedy