x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Movie Review: Letters to Juliet

This rose-tinted tosh wouldn't smell as sweet if it wasn't for the inspired casting of Vanessa Redgrave.

Amanda Seyfried stars in Letters to Juliet.
Amanda Seyfried stars in Letters to Juliet.

Director: Gary Winick Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, Chris Egan, Gabriel Garcia Bernal. Who knew that Juliet Capulet moonlights as an Agony Aunt? Not in person, of course, but still, what better guiding spirit should a lovesick Italian turn to in times of need? You don't even need a stamp. Just plug your letter into an ancient courtyard wall in Verona, and wait? and wait? and wait.

Anyway, that's the experience of Claire (Vanessa Redgrave), whose letter goes unnoticed for half a century, only to fall into the needy hands of Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), an American would-be writer who is kicking her heels in Tuscany with her terminally unromantic fiancé (Gael García Bernal). Sophie's belated reply (which we don't hear until the end of the movie) is moving enough to bring Claire over licketyspit from England, convinced that she must reunite with her teenage love, Lorenzo, if only to apologise for her sudden departure all those years before. That's easier said than done - there are dozens and dozens of Lorenzo Bartolinis in the vicinity, any one of whom could be the right man. This rose-tinted tosh wouldn't smell as sweet if it wasn't for the inspired casting of Vanessa Redgrave, who is apparently incapable of registering a false emotion even in these ridiculously contrived circumstances, and her old Camelot beau (and real-life husband) Franco Nero as the love of her life. The elders upstage the young pretenders Seyfried and Christopher Egan, whose caricature of a posh English twerp is even more insufferable than the real thing. The film is pretty, though. * Tom Charity