Movie Review: Letters To Juliet (2010)

In Movie Reviews on January 30, 2011 at 10:24 am

I am not ashamed to admit that romantic comedies are my favorite genre of movie. I can watch one no matter what type of mood I am in, and because of this, I have seen hundreds throughout the years. Based on watching so many, I have come up with my own personal checklist on what makes a romantic comedy work or not work.

1. A likable lead character you want to root for. Most of the type it is a female (think Reece Witherspoon or Julia Roberts), but sometimes it can be a male (John Cusack in Say Anything is the prime example). In this movie, we have Amanda Seyfried, one of the talented crop of under 30 up and coming actresses. She does a very pleasant job in the role of Sophie, a fact checker / want to be writer for The New Yorker. Surprisingly enough, this film actually has two leads you want to root for, as Vanessa Redgrave almost steals the movie from Amanda in her role as Claire.

2. An antagonistic counter character to the lead. There are actually two in this movie, which I will talk about shortly.

3. Some type of journey for self discovery. Pretty much this entire movie is based around this point, and it is a satisfying journey.

4. The big pay off. Once again, there are actually two here, one works well, and one falls completely flat (more on this shortly).

A few spoilers past this point, you have been warned!!!

The biggest weakness, and ultimate downfall of this movie is the fact that you do not want Sophie to end up with either guy! Both antagonists (her Italian fiance and Claire’s British son) are so unlikable from beginning to end, you end up asking yourself “she really has to decide between THESE TWO?” The fiance ignores Sophie so much throughout the movie, I actually started getting a little mad. It’s no wonder females are so guarded with jerks like this guy was in the world.

Then you have Charlie (played by Christopher Egan). I get that you have to make the character a little rough when he and Sophie first meet, the problem is, there is no gradual smoothing of the edges. It is like a light switch just flicks on, where one minute he is the jerk and the next minute he is the nicest guy on the planet. Good romantic comedies transition this type of character slowly, so he / she grows right along with the lead. By the end of the movie, there is zero connection or chemistry with Sophie and Charlie because the viewer is never led to the end, you are just simply shoved to it.

Which brings me to the payoffs. The Claire pay off is outstanding. For 50 years, she has been searching for her true love, and when she finally sees it in her grasp, you can feel the fear and anxiety she has ooze through the camera. It is one of the those cheering moments where you just want to shout “yes!!”. The Sophie pay off…well…not so much. The reason is because it is not set up properly from the very point of her going back to Italy. Charlie, having known he has told her about his ex named Patricia, is going to introduce her to a women named Patricia and not explain instantly that it is his cousin? Um, yeah I don’t think so. This guy is dense, but there is no man that dense.

In the end, Seyfriend’s and Redgraves performance are enough to make this a watchable movie on a lazy Saturday date night sitting at home the couch, but it is not something you need to go out of your way to see soon.

2.5 out of 5 stars.


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