Movie review: "Letters to Juliet"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

"Letters to Juliet" is shamelessly - almost ridiculously - romantic.

It's got long-lost loves and love triangles and a postcard Italian setting, and more than its share of moments are geared at simultaneous audience cooing. Frankly, this movie pulls off what it sets out to do so well, it even overcomes some believability flaws with its central romance.

Depending on your cynicism level, the plot will set your heart thumping or eyes rolling. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is a fact-checker at the New Yorker with aspirations to write. She journeys to Verona, Italy, on a pre-honeymoon vacation with her restaurateur fiance (Gael Garcia Bernal).

While there, Sophie meets up with a group of volunteers who respond to letters lovelorn women have left for Shakespeare's Juliet character. Sophie's response to one letter brings a woman in pursuit of a decades-old lost love (Vanessa Redgrave) and her skeptical and reserved grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan).

Despite some flaws - particularly the obvious love/hate relationship between Sophie and Charlie - director Gary Winick ("13 Going on 30") is largely effective in what he sets out to do. For the date-night crowd, this is the ideal choice in theaters right now.

Seyfried is suitably adorable, though her chemistry with Egan won't set screens ablaze. She does a nice job handling the emotions of her emerging love triangle, which is complicated by how charming Bernal is as a distracted but kind fiance.

Throw in an outstanding performance by Redgrave, and the good easily outweighs the bad.

"Letters to Juliet"

Opens Friday

Grade: B