Directed by: Gary Winick
Premise: A writer (Amanda Seyfried) vacationing in Venice discovers a fifty-year-old love letter. She writes to the author of the letter (Vanessa Redgrave) and helps her try to find her long lost love.
What Works: There are some nice moments between Vanessa Redgrave, as the author of the letter, and Christopher Egan, who plays her grandson. Redgrave is very funny and the rapport she has with Egan gives Letters to Juliet its only emotionally resonant moments.
What Doesn’t: Letters to Juliet is otherwise a waste of time. The dialogue is lame and sentimental, with the characters constantly spouting romantic platitudes, as though the script were made of a patchwork of Hallmark cards. Amanda Seyfried and Christopher Egan have no romantic chemistry on screen and even though it is plainly obvious where this story is going the actor’s lack of heat works against the story. The premise is entirely unbelievable and the story constantly requires big leaps of logic that destroys the film’s credibility. To believe that that a paper letter would survive in a outdoor stone wall for fifty years, that the older woman and her grandson would allow a complete stranger to tag along with them for days and days, that a couple could be so close to marriage and realize that they don’t even like each other, that a woman would throw away her engagement for a guy she just met, that both former lovers would be just happed to be widowed, or that a major publisher would print an unfinished manuscript requires such a suspension of disbelief that there is nothing in the story left to believe in. Letters to Juliet also fails as an exercise in filmmaking craft. The sound design is really clumsy and the music score is very intrusive. The cinematography is similarly uninspired and there is no visual flare to this film at all.
Bottom Line: Letters to Juliet is a pretty terrible film. It isn’t the fault of the actors who have proven themselves in other films. This is just a lazy attempt at a love story and it would not be surprising if it were made just as an excuse to use a Taylor Swift song in a movie.
Episode: #289 (May 23, 2010)