Letters to Juliet – Movie Review
DEAR JULIET, YOUR CHICK FLICK IS A BORE. SINCERELY, KEVIN
published May 18, 2010
Letters to Juliet
So, yes, obviously,
as a man, I can sit here and warn you that Letters to Juliet is an estrogen crucifixion of the
But that would be
ignoring the most interesting (and appalling) thing about it – what in the world is Gael Garcia Bernal doing in this?
Four or five years
ago, he was the hottest thing in international cinema, the biggest star of the Mexican New Wave, a borderless phenomenon appearing in films
all across the world. How does he end up playing the stereotypical insensitive boyfriend in a banal girl-fest? And how does he end up losing
the girl to some stiff English dork? This is like watching Jean Seberg dump Jean-Paul Belmondo
for Ricky Nelson.
Of course, Amanda
Seyfried has a way to go to be Jean Seberg. Whatever her shortcomings as an actress, Seberg had that uber-cool presence, an ingénue with an
edge. Seyfried (who admittedly showed guts in Chloe)
is a super-cutie pie who seems to be having her star turn this year. That sound you hear is the many Carey Mulligan worshippers in the
criti-rati throwing themselves under buses in frustration.
Seyfried’s Sophie is a fact checker with the New Yorker who wants to be a writer. While on
holiday in Italy with her self-absorbed chef fiancé, she stumbles upon a strange ritual where heartbroken women attach letters to a stone
wall, asking for romantic advice. A small committee of Italian women mail comforting letters in
When Sophie finds
and answers a fifty year old letter from an Englishwoman, the now sixty-ish-year-old woman shows up to find her lost love. So does her testy
grandson. Sophie tags along for the romantic adventure. He’s a jerk. She’s a sweetie. They clash. Sparks fly. At least for
Juliet is a film where the
acting doesn’t do a good job of playing out the emotions found in the script. Part of that is the casting, which runs into a traditional
problem. The male lead, in this case Australian actor Christopher Egan, must be strong enough to win the woman in a short period of time, but
not strong enough to overshadow the female lead. It’s a contradictory task and it shows. Egan is far too anonymous, Seyfried lacks immediate
warmth, the chemistry never materializes, and even struggling through the script’s obligatory asshole, Garcia Bernal still seems the exciting
choice. Maybe he’s just having a bad weekend.
truly offensive about the film ( it’s always nice to see Vanessa Redgrave get out of the house) and I suppose it will let less demanding women
open the purse for the hanky. However, even as romantic afternoon time-wasters go, Letters to
Juliet is up a balcony without a suitor.