Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment LLC.
Watching the romantic Letters to Juliet, it was easy to suspend disbelief and revel in an idea of a true love as warm and inviting as the Tuscan countryside where the movie is set.
The film is centered around the story of an American tourist named Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) who reunites British senior Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) with the Italian love of her life (Franco Nero), a man she left in the lurch when she was only 15. In the process, Sophie gets a master class in the meaning of love.
This is a believe-in-miracles movie, a celebration of true love. It’s that rare cry-for-joy Hollywood film that acknowledges that love can be as powerful for couples in their 60s and 70s as those in their 20s. Spoiler alert: Since critics will carp on the movie’s predictability, it’s not telling tales out of school to say that Claire walks down the aisle, having recovered her first love and his welcome arms. On that short walk, she holds a bouquet of white flowers, and there’s something beautiful about the way the blossoms shake in hands that tremor with some malady of old age.
But it’s not just about older folks finding renewed love in the second chapter of their lives. The act of grace Sophie performs in bringing this couple together awakens the young woman to the fact that, in her own life, she is settling for a relationship that looks good on the surface but doesn’t feel right inside. She gradually realizes the futility of her engagement to a distracted chef (Gael Garcia Bernal) who is more passionate about truffles than he is about her. Of course, there’s a hunky alternative, Claire’s grandson (Christopher Egan), to help Sophie on her journey of discovery as her feelings migrate from the realm of her head to that of her heart.
The movie makes it clear that love is a leap of faith. And part of the rush is the impossibility of knowing if it’s a leap into welcome arms, or off a bridge! And, with Letters to Juliet, it's a satisfying fantasy about love, young and old, with heroines willing to plunge into the unknown of the heart.
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