Tuesday 22 Jul
 
 

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
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Letters to Juliet' is pretty ... and pretty superficial


Phil Bacharach May 20th, 2010

Letters to Juliet opens with shots of kisses taken from classical paintings and vintage photos, a montage proudly proclaiming its chick-flick romantic-comedy bona fides. It also serves notice not to...

"Letters to Juliet" opens with shots of kisses taken from classical paintings and vintage photos, a montage proudly proclaiming its chick-flick romantic-comedy bona fides. It also serves notice not to expect much in the way of sophistication, invention or emotional depth.

That's not necessarily a criticism. Romcoms aren't exactly renowned for edginess, and "Letters to Juliet" certainly doesn't harbor a mean-spirited or objectionable thought in its neatly coiffed head.

But it doesn't appear to have any other kind of thought, either.

Amanda Seyfried ("Dear John") is Sophie, a magazine fact-checker who goes on a romantic getaway to Verona, Italy, with her fiancé, aspiring chef Victor (Gael García Bernal, "Blindness"). Once in the land of Romeo and Juliet, however, preening Victor spends all his time at vineyards and wine auctions, leaving Sophie to sightsee on her own.

At the supposed home of Juliet Capulet, Sophie discovers that its stone edifice is a wailing wall for the lovelorn, a place where women leave letters seeking help from that celebrated lovesick teenager. Considering Juliet's fate, seeking her counsel on matters of the heart seems odd (do people visit Jim Morrison's Paris grave to pose questions of pharmacology?), but so be it. Sophie meets a group of volunteers, dubbed "Juliet's Secretaries," who answer every letter left at the site, and they invite her to become an ad hoc member.

Almost immediately, Sophie finds a 50-year-old letter languishing behind a brick. Its author, a British teen named Claire, reveals that she regrets having skipped out on Lorenzo, a strapping Italian boy of her dreams.

Sophie writes Claire back, urging her to track down Lorenzo. Mail must be lightning-fast in Europe, as septuagenarian Claire (Vanessa Redgrave, "Atonement") soon arrives in Verona.
Claire is accompanied by snooty, disapproving grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan, "Resident Evil: Extinction"), but Sophie is determined to help the old woman find Lorenzo.

"I didn't know true love had an expiration date," Sophie tells Charlie in one of the film's many groan-inducing moments. The three then go on a true-love scavenger hunt in search of Lorenzo. But Claire's journey takes a figurative backseat as Sophie and Charlie inevitably fall in love.

Director Gary Winick ("Bride Wars") packs in plenty of golden-hued vistas, but there's no covering up the cloying screenplay by Jose Rivera ("The Motorcycle Diaries") and Tim Sullivan ("Flushed Away"). No line of dialogue is deemed too trite, no plot contrivance too predictable. "Life is the messy bits," Claire advises her grandson, but "Letters to Juliet," ironically, is nearly anal-retentive in its aversion to messiness.

The actors and scenery are pretty, if pretty vacant. Seyfried is beautiful and charmingly wide-eyed, but she can't muster up much chemistry with Egan, who coasts by here on bland good looks. Bernal, a gifted actor, has the unenviable task of playing an over-the-top buffoon.
Redgrave supplies a modest portion of emotional heft, but you suspect that the production of "Letters to Juliet" was more about hanging out in Verona than it was about real romance. "Phil Bacharach
 
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