Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Letters to Juliet (Rhoades)

“Letters to Juliet” Is Special Delivery
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Did you ever write a love letter? I don’t mean a Valentine’s card or a wish-you-were-here note; I’m talking about a passionate missive where you pour your heart onto the very paper itself. The kind of letters that your beloved saves with a ribbon tied around them.

A little embarrassing when your children stumble across them in the attic.
Even worse when found by a stranger.

But that’s not necessarily bad if it’s a letter that was never delivered, and the young girl who finds it decides to track down the now-aged lovers who disconnected all those years ago.

That’s the plot of “Letters to Juliet,” the romantic drama that’s now playing at the Tropic Cinema.

It stars Amanda Seyfried, the wholesome young woman you encountered in “Mamma Mia!” and “Dear John.” You also saw another side of her acting persona in the recent erotic thriller “Chloe.”

Here she’s a romantic American named Sophie, who visits Verona, the city in Italy that’s ascribed as the site of William Shakespeare’s “Rome and Juliet.” Among the scores of letters that people leave in the courtyard for the fictional Juliet, she discovers a love note written back in 1957 by someone named Claire to her lost soul mate. So Sophie locates Claire and convinces her to set off to find him.

Yes, romance is in the air for everyone involved – Claire and her old flame, as well as Sophie and Claire’s skeptical grandson.

The casting coup is pairing Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero, real-life husband and wife, as the long-separated lovers. The two met on the set of 1967’s “Camelot” where she was Guinevere and he was her Sir Lancelot.

Gary Winick (“Bride Wars”) directed this sweet little film, taking advantage of the beautiful Italian scenery – Verona, Tuscany, and the medieval city of Soave.

Based on a book by Lise and Ceil Friedman, it recounts the phenomenon of the thousand of letters written each year to Juliet by lovelorn women begging for sympathy and advice. A volunteer group known as the Secretaries of Juliet answers many of them. This has been going on since Victorian times.

If Shakespeare were alive today, he would tell you star-crossed lovers is always a good theme for a play … or a chick flick.
[from Solares Hill]

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