As a thorough-blooded male who enjoys action, violence and sex one might not expect me to enjoy romantic comedies, but I do (surprise, surprise). I consume such movies in the same way I consume pop-rocks and cola: very rarely. But when I do I ensure that it is a film to my liking. So needless to say when I popped in Letters to Juliet without knowing scarcely a dust mote about the movie, I was taking an entertainment risk; if I failed there would be no way to get back my 105 minutes.
Luckily I succeeded in whatever arcane quest I had set up for myself, for by the end of the movie I had discovered that the plot was one that not only was enjoyable but one that resonated with me to a small degree.
The story follows that of Sophie, a newspaper fact checker who wants to be a writer. Due to be married to a soon to be restaurant owner, they take a “pre-Honeymoon” to Verona Italy. Once there, however, Sophie and her fiancée find themselves pulled in opposite directions as he is pulled towards work, preparing to launch his new business, and she in sightseeing. It is during one of her sight-seeing tours which she discovers a group of woman who write letters to woman in desperate need to romantic and life help. She volunteers to help them in responding, her first challenge to take the form of writing back to a 50 year old plea for help.
Urging the woman to follow her heart she mails off the letter without expecting a response. Yet it is not even a week later that an elderly woman, Claire, now over 60, and her realist yet somewhat verbally abusive grandson, arrive in Verona. They come to seek out the love of Claire’s life, a young man she fell in love with when she was but fifteen.
The journey to find Claire’s long lost love takes them on many turns. There is hope, disappointment, cynicism, and even love. The plot is one of realism. Not for its expected coincidental and highly convenient plot turns, but for its simple tale of a person searching out their soul mate.
To this point the acting was good, over all, though there were moments when Sophie seemed stilted. The faking of local accents seemed too corny for me and the soundtrack could have been more inspired (the directors decided on using popular culture tracks instead of original compositions) but even with these road-bumps the energy of the thread was present.
The ending was nothing out of the ordinary; it was a very conventional ending, one which I predicted about a quarter of the way through the movie. In all “letters to Juliet” is enjoyable but it isn’t the most well done romantic comedy of yesteryear. There are other, more well-crafted romantic comedies, but sometimes you want something of a different flare and if so than you might want to give this one a try.