My theory about romance movies these days is that they hover around one of two poles–either the horrid, slapsticky variety where pratfalls and humiliating scenarios abound (think ‘Fool’s Gold’) or the Nicolas Sparks variety that are too syrupy to get down (we’re far beyond ‘The Notebook’ these days). If you are anything like me, you don’t enjoy humiliation with your romance. But movies like ‘The Last Song’ make me wince, too.
This is a movie about second chances all around–regardless if you are of the grandmotherly age, as is Claire (played by the wonderful Vanessa Redgrave), or if you are just embarking on true love for the first time, as is Sophie (Seyfried), a hopeless romantic herself. Sophie is engaged at the beginning of our love story, to the wrong man of course–though, in truth, the “wrong man” here is played by Gael García Bernal, and it’s really difficult to believe he could be the wrong man in any situation. So though a bit of suspension of disbelief is required, ‘Letters to Juliet’ weaves two wonderfully romantic stories of an older woman returning to find a lost love from her youth, and Sophie leaving a mistaken love for true love which she finds in Claire’s grandson. All of this takes place with the gorgeous scenery of Italy as a backdrop, and yes, because of a letter that gives the movie it’s title.
If you, too, can get on board with the romantic notion that, in the end, love conquers all, and love always warrants a second chance and that sort of thing, I say go for it and see it in the theaters. A fun, romantic start to the summer movie season.