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'Letters to Juliet' is full of charm, despite a few unlikeable characters Franco Te | Fri, May 14 2010 02:10 PM

Director Gary Winick and Summit Entertainment brings us a love story set in Italy with "Letters to Juliet."

This film tells the story of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), a fact finder for the New Yorker magazine who isn't quite happy with her job. She wants to be a writer but hasn't found the inspiration to show off what she can do.

Then there is her fiancŽ, Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal), who is opening a restaurant and is passionate about cooking. So passionate, in fact, that the couple decides to go to Verona, Italy for a pre-honeymoon.
Immediately, Victor becomes engrossed in roaming the Italian countryside for wine and other foods while Sophie wants to roam the city. As he takes off for a trip, she begins to wander and becomes fascinated by one place in particular.

In a small courtyard off a cobblestones street stands a statue of Juliet from Shakespeare's story of star-crossed lovers. Also in the courtyard were many people writing notes to Juliet with tales of love - some good and some not so good.

She soon discovers the secretaries of Juliet and a note written 50 years ago from a young girl to her love. Sophie returns the letter and within days meets Claire (Lynne Redgrave) and her grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan).

Deciding to find her love turns into an adventure Sophie never expected, but with a story longing to be told.

Final word: Seyfried had no problem playing the role of Sophie. Although she is the main character, she doesn't seem so. It is almost if she is standing back and allowing the main story to unfold only to appear when absolutely necessary.

I have to say the winner here is Redgrave. Those beautiful blue eyes and her expressive face had me enthralled. There has never been a role in her career that she has not perfected and this role seemed effortless. I refuse to give away the best part of the film - so sue me. Just know it was meant to be.

The two problems with the film are Egan as the grumpy, grouchy and irritating Charlie and Bernal as the overly anxious, high-strung and irritating Victor. It is a shame because Bernal is an actor worthy of watching, as in the film "Blindness."In this role I have to say he was a character of a character.

The scenery is beautiful and is filmed so wonderfully. The connection between Sophie and Claire is delightful and one of the enjoyable moments in the film. There is fun, there are laughs, and for the romantic at heart, this hits the spot. The plot of the film is fairly easy to predict from the beginning, but it is still a nice story.

Tubs of popcorn: I give "Letters to Juliet" three tubs of popcorn out of five. It is a delightful film filled with amazing amounts of charm and humor. Yes, it is predictable, but that shouldn't stop the enjoyment, in fact, its easygoing attitude was nicely done. This is the perfect chick flick for couples that want to share some film time in Italy without a passport.

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