Undying love in Italy

2010-06-12 08:46

Letters to Juliet does for the northern Italian city of Verona

what Under the Tuscan Sun did for Tuscany and what A Good Year did for Provence.

Apart from making you want to shove some summer dresses in a bag and take off to

slurp wine and spaghetti in Italy, this film also makes you want to believe that

love does not have a sell-by date.

Verona is, after all, the literary home of William Shakespeare’s

star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet and it is Juliet who ­inspires the

protagonist.

Amanda Seyfried, who did such a great job in Mamma Mia!, does well

here too as Sophie, the perky blonde fact checker who yearns to be a writer.

She

heads for Italy with her fiancé Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal), a chef who sees it

as a buying trip rather than a romantic getaway.

Sophie finds her way to Juliet’s wall where women from across the

world write letters to the young fictional lover.

The ­letters are about love

lost, found, ­lamented and unrequited. And there is a circle of women who answer

them – each uniquely qualified to do so for different reasons.

Delighted with the idea, Sophie joins them and finds a 50-year-old

letter. She drafts a response.

Enter Claire, played by Vanessa Redgrave, who at the age of 73 is

still incredibly beautiful and able to captivate an audience as she enters the

frame.

On the strength of Sophie’s ­letter, Claire comes to try and find

the man she left half a century before,­ accompanied by her disapproving

grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan).

What follows is a chase through the idyllic Italian countryside,

punctuated by scrumptious lunches and cool glasses of wine.

Along the way, as

expected, Sophie and Charlie find common ground and Claire begins to feel she

won’t find her long-lost love.

But we know she will and when she does he is her real life partner

Franco Nero, the Italian actor who has aged as well as she.

This is a piece of fluff saved from being blown into oblivion by a

feel-good story, a picture book setting and that most alluring of all assertions

– that love conquers all.

This is a film about first love mellowed by time and

wisdom into everlasting love.

A sentimental treat.



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