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Letters to Juliet Compilation

By hotchicpam07 Mar 21, 2011 13078 Words
Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare's Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love Book Description Frequently addressed simply, "Juliet, Verona," all of these letters reach their destination and, amazingly enough, all of them--since the 1930s--receive an answer. "Letters to Juliet" is the story of these letters and the volunteers who have been answering them for more than 70 years. Juliet. She's one-half of the world's most famous couple, whose enduring legend draws millions of visitors to Verona every year. But that's only part of the story. Since the 1930s, Juliet has received an untold number of letters from writers all over the world. Most of the missives talk of love, of course -- love found and love lost, love sought and love remembered. They may be written by teenagers in the throes of a first crush or struggling with parental censure. They may be from adults celebrating a hard-won love or wrestling with commitment. They come by the truckload, in almost every imaginable language -- composed on ornate stationery, scrawled on loose-leaf, or scribbled on whatever scraps were handy. Frequently addressed simply, "Juliet, Verona," all of these letters reach their destination and, amazingly enough, all of them receive an answer.  "Letters to Juliet" is the story of these letters and the volunteers who have been answering them for more than 70 years -- volunteers who first acted privately, and who are now sanctioned by the city of Verona to answer thousands of letters each year as part of the Juliet Club. Complete with selected letters, this romantic and poetic book also contains the history behind Shakespeare's tale and the monuments that fuel the legend. Utterly unique and magical, "Letters to Juliet" is perfect for anyone who's ever felt the pangs of love. Lise Friedman has contributed to Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare's Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love as an author. Lisa Friedman is currently the dance writer for Microsoft's New York Sidewalk. A former dancer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, she also served as founding editor of the award-winning quarterly Dance Ink and author of First Lessons in Ballet and an adjunct professor at New York University. She is also a contributing editor at Elleand a journalist who writes about the performing arts for various publications. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York, just a short cab ride from the Great White Way!  Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare's Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love Book Description Frequently addressed simply, "Juliet, Verona," all of these letters reach their destination and, amazingly enough, all of them--since the 1930s--receive an answer. "Letters to Juliet" is the story of these letters and the volunteers who have been answering them for more than 70 years. Juliet. She's one-half of the world's most famous couple, whose enduring legend draws millions of visitors to Verona every year. But that's only part of the story. Since the 1930s, Juliet has received an untold number of letters from writers all over the world. Most of the missives talk of love, of course -- love found and love lost, love sought and love remembered. They may be written by teenagers in the throes of a first crush or struggling with parental censure. They may be from adults celebrating a hard-won love or wrestling with commitment. They come by the truckload, in almost every imaginable language -- composed on ornate stationery, scrawled on loose-leaf, or scribbled on whatever scraps were handy. Frequently addressed simply, "Juliet, Verona," all of these letters reach their destination and, amazingly enough, all of them receive an answer.  "Letters to Juliet" is the story of these letters and the volunteers who have been answering them for more than 70 years -- volunteers who first acted privately, and who are now sanctioned by the city of Verona to answer thousands of letters each year as part of the Juliet Club. Complete with selected letters, this romantic and poetic book also contains the history behind Shakespeare's tale and the monuments that fuel the legend. Utterly unique and magical, "Letters to Juliet" is perfect for anyone who's ever felt the pangs of love. Lise Friedman has contributed to Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare's Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love as an author. Lisa Friedman is currently the dance writer for Microsoft's New York Sidewalk. A former dancer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, she also served as founding editor of the award-winning quarterly Dance Ink and author of First Lessons in Ballet and an adjunct professor at New York University. She is also a contributing editor at Elleand a journalist who writes about the performing arts for various publications. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York, just a short cab ride from the Great White Way! 

Wallace's review 
May 18, 10

bookshelves: non-fiction 
status: Read in January, 2010 — I own a copy

Out this month is Letters to Juliet starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave. The movie itself is charming in a sweet-romantic way, but did you know it was based off of a book? And though the story itself isn't taken from any actual account, the theme is very much true... 

In Verona, Italy there is a monument dedicated to Juliet Capulet, its most famous resident, where thousands have flocked for over a century to pray to, talk to, touch the gravestone of, and leave letters for the iconic lady of love. But how can that be? Juliet is a character, a figment of William Shakespeare's imagination. Well, there you are wrong. Though we don't know that Juliet ever existed, her legend reaches back much farther than Shakespeare, who wasn't as original as you might think. He took his story from other writers (primarily Arthur Brooks's Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde), who had taken their stories from others before them. And Juliet's (as well as Romeo's) existence depends entirely on whom you are asking. She is a legend, and many believe that legends start somewhere. 

Regardless of Juliet's actual existence, the lovelorn have been visiting this site in Verona for centuries; speaking to Juliet and tacking up notes begging her for help or just a listening ear. In the 1930's someone started answering them. Ettore Solimani was given the job of caretaker to Juliet's tomb in April of 1937. As someone who deeply respected the legend of the arguably greatest heroine of love, he wanted to do something more than just clean the grounds and admit people into the memorial. He recognized that what these women (and often men as well) wanted was to be part of the legend -- to hear from Juliet as though she was a divine presence who could solve their love woes. So he began to write back and became the first of Juliet's Secretaries; a line of people (often more than just one person now-a-days) now known as Club di Giulietta, who respond to each letter written to Juliet that includes a return address. To this day not only do people post hundreds of thousands of letters along the wall at Juliet's tomb, but they also send their letters to Verona from across the world. 

In Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare's Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love the history of this magically romantic story, as well as the town of Verona and it's devotion to their sacred resident is told through photographs, facts, and samples of letters written to Giulietta. It's almost enough to make you believe she's still there... and write your own letter. 

story about love—of encountering new sparks and rekindling old flames. When a young American, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), travels to Verona, Italy—the romantic city where Romeo first met Juliet—she meets a group of volunteers who responds to letters written to Juliet seeking advice about love. Sophie finds and responds to a letter that has been lost for 50 years, which inspires its author Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) to travel to Italy to find her her long-lost soul mate. Together, the two women embark on an adventure that will change their lives forever—a journey filled with laughter and companionship, discoveries about themselves and the meaning of true love.  Summit Entertainement/Facebook

The tragic story of Romeo and Juliet, a legend of which nobody can tell if the two unlucky lovers of Verona ever lived. Nevertheless, not unlike many other legends, there are abundant elements of the story that have references to real places and historical facts of Verona. For example, it is many years now since visitors of Juliet's house first started writing their names and love phrases on the entrance walls of this famous place of Verona. There are lovers who want to tie their names to this highly symbolic place by writing them on JULIET'S WALL. There are messages left by those who have had their heart broken and by those who want the world to hear about their love. You'll also find messages of peace and love, phrases written in every language and color. The idea of Juliet's Wall was to make it possible for everyone who chooses so, to post a message on that wall.  Leave your message, and let the world know about your love. Juliet's wall, The Wall of Love

I was given passes to an advanced showing of "Letters to Juliet" for Mothers Day. So, naturally, I invited Andye, Kit, and my daughters Abigaile and Anna to tag along. When we sat down in the movie theatre, I knew one thing... get as far away from the reserved seating as possible (The Press). They are a pretty loud bunch if you ask me.

I knew walking in to this movie, that it was definitely going to be predictable. It had to have had the perfect ending or I would have walked away angry and frustrated. The previews pretty much tell you everything you need to know. I didn't care. It was a romantic movie set in Italy. Need I say more? Let me just say, if you do not desire a glass of red wine, eating a cheese plate with grapes and bread dipped in olive oil while sitting out on a veranda in Verona with your significant other, after watching this film, well, you need to seek professional help immediately! Or, a good couple's counselor!

I read, that every week, hundreds of letters pour into the office of the Club di Giulietta, in Verona, Italy, the city that is the setting for Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." 

"Dear Juliet ... You are my last hope. The woman I love more than anything in the world has left me. ..." 

"Dear Juliet, I live on the third floor. My parents don't allow my boyfriend to come to my house. So I have to sneak him in. ..." 

Some are addressed simply "To Juliet, Verona," but the postman always knows to deliver them to the club's Via Galilei headquarters. Every letter is answered by the club's group of volunteers, no matter what the language, sometimes with the assistance of outside translators. (In the past, the owner of a local Chinese restaurant helped.)

Outside stands a bronze statue of Juliet. Tourists rub the right breast for good luck. It is now considerably shinier than the left. 

For years, tourists stuck notes to Juliet on the walls of the house with bubblegum. Last year the gum was removed, and white plasterboard was put up for those who feel they must write. There is also a letterbox at the house, and its missives are collected and answered by the club. These days you can even send an e-mail to Juliet at info@julietclub.com. Very few letters, oddly enough, are sent to Romeo.

I just loved this movie. It was romantic. It was funny. Entertaining. Delightful. Beautiful shots of the landscape throughout Italy. Pretty clean, hence the PG rating. It is so nice to go and watch a film without the curse words and sexual innuendos. So unnecessary. I will definitely go and see this movie again. This might actually cost my husband a lot more than he bargained for. I came home begging to go back to Italy! For now, I want to leave a letter on Giulietta's wall of love.

"A friendship that is like love is warm; A love like friendship, steady" - Thomas Moore

"There is no world without Verona walls... 
Heaven is here, where Juliet lives."  Shakespeare
  
Letters to Juliet (the book)
"Dear Juliet,
I adore talking to a legend.  Today I need you to listen to me once more."

This is how the wonderful little gem of a book, Letters to Juliet, begins.  Although the book is 173 pages long, it is an easy and short read that will have you wanting to visit Verona by the end.  Is it a literary masterpiece?  No, of course not.  The book is set up in more of a small coffee table gift book fashion than a novel or non-fiction book.  In other words, it is not meant to be read and re-read, but read once and then referred back to when you need to once again see the impact one of Shakespeare's greatest tragic love stories has had on the world.

Letters to Juliet takes us from the history of the story of Romeo and his Juliet (which was surprisingly NOT invented by Shakespeare) up to the 21st century and the current Club di Giulietta.  In this book, you will learn of how the unforgettable legend of Romeo and Juliet began and how the Secretaries of Juliet have kept it alive for such a long time.  The best part of reading this book is reading the letters from people of all ages and walks of life written to Juliet.  Love-struck teenagers, couples married for many years, and even a priest thanking Juliet for her Service to Love as he calls it fill this book between the pages telling us of the legend and the truth of this story.  The book also includes both antique and modern day pictures of the tomb and house of Juliet located in Verona, Italy, that have become tourist attractions visited by thousands of people every year.

It is no wonder that this year someone came up with the idea to make a movie bearing the same name that is inspired by this little book. You can find my review of the movie here.  The verdict...an A, not for being a literary masterpiece (which is not what this book is intended to be), but for keeping alive a story and a love that can transcend time.

Wallace's review 
May 18, 10

bookshelves: non-fiction 
status: Read in January, 2010 — I own a copy

Out this month is Letters to Juliet starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave. The movie itself is charming in a sweet-romantic way, but did you know it was based off of a book? And though the story itself isn't taken from any actual account, the theme is very much true... 

In Verona, Italy there is a monument dedicated to Juliet Capulet, its most famous resident, where thousands have flocked for over a century to pray to, talk to, touch the gravestone of, and leave letters for the iconic lady of love. But how can that be? Juliet is a character, a figment of William Shakespeare's imagination. Well, there you are wrong. Though we don't know that Juliet ever existed, her legend reaches back much farther than Shakespeare, who wasn't as original as you might think. He took his story from other writers (primarily Arthur Brooks's Tragicall Historye of Romeus and Juliet and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde), who had taken their stories from others before them. And Juliet's (as well as Romeo's) existence depends entirely on whom you are asking. She is a legend, and many believe that legends start somewhere. 

Regardless of Juliet's actual existence, the lovelorn have been visiting this site in Verona for centuries; speaking to Juliet and tacking up notes begging her for help or just a listening ear. In the 1930's someone started answering them. Ettore Solimani was given the job of caretaker to Juliet's tomb in April of 1937. As someone who deeply respected the legend of the arguably greatest heroine of love, he wanted to do something more than just clean the grounds and admit people into the memorial. He recognized that what these women (and often men as well) wanted was to be part of the legend -- to hear from Juliet as though she was a divine presence who could solve their love woes. So he began to write back and became the first of Juliet's Secretaries; a line of people (often more than just one person now-a-days) now known as Club di Giulietta, who respond to each letter written to Juliet that includes a return address. To this day not only do people post hundreds of thousands of letters along the wall at Juliet's tomb, but they also send their letters to Verona from across the world. 

In Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare's Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love the history of this magically romantic story, as well as the town of Verona and it's devotion to their sacred resident is told through photographs, facts, and samples of letters written to Giulietta. It's almost enough to make you believe she's still there... and write your own letter. 

Review
Amanda Seyfried seems to be stuck in a rut with a recent string of bland romantic comedies in which she plays wide-eyed young women in pursuit of love, and nothing's really changed with her latest film, Letters to Juliet, a syrupy romantic comedy that takes a page from the ultimate love-story playbook, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. But unlike the Elizabethan-era play, Letters unfolds as a perfectly pleasant story that's neither epic nor abysmal. Despite being set against inviting backdrops of aging villas and rolling countrysides, and being populated by charming locals, the story unfolds anticlimactically. The film starts off with a good premise, but takes entirely too long to get to the meat of the story, and while a film that promises romance should deliver on that concept, director Gary Winick fails to get the audience emotionally invested in the characters or their love lives.

Sophie (Seyfried), a twentysomething fact checker for The New Yorker, and her restaurateur fiancé, Victor (Gael García Bernal), travels to Verona, Italy, for their "pre-wedding honeymoon," where she meets a group of volunteers who respond to letters written to Juliet seeking romantic advice. After unearthing a letter that had been lost for 50 years, Sophie responds, only to be stunned when its author, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave), arrives in Italy with uptight grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan), to find her long lost love, Lorenzo Bartolini (played by Redgrave's real-life husband, Franco Nero). Fascinated by Claire's quest, Sophie accompanies them on a trek through the hills of Tuscany, where adventure awaits them.

The requisite hate-at-first-sight that transpires when Sophie meets Charlie, a cynic when it come to matters of the heart, truly rubs Sophie the wrong way, but also, as these stories go, turns her on; in theory this should make for a steamy romance, but in actuality it comes across as quite boring. Their chemistry seems to be lacking and, save for a single moonlight kiss on a grassy knoll, Seyfried and Egan's relationship falls flat. Still, between bright smiles and teary-eyed confessions, Amanda Seyfried is just darn likeable, and though her character lacks depth, the fact that she so strongly believes in true love is almost enough to make even the most hardened moviegoer want to believe.

For all of its sticking points, the film is saved by a radiant Vanessa Redgrave, who gives a graceful and poignant performance as the elegant Claire looking for her Italian beau, and adds some much-needed romance to this romantic comedy. The audience really roots for her, and when she inevitably finds her Lorenzo, the moment is touching and worth the wait. For a movie so predictable, you would think that screenwriters Jose Rivera and Tim Sullivan would come up with a new way to tell the same old story, but ultimately, while the concept of "true love" makes some roll their eyes, this film appeals to the hardcore believer. ~ Alaina O'Connor, Rovi

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/letters-to-juliet-1#ixzz1FSAmfv8r

Plot
Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is an American girl who works for the New Yorker magazine and is a fact checker. To put some spark in her life she decides to go on a 'pre-honeymoon' with her workaholic chef fiancé Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal) to Verona. However the workaholic Victor is unmoved by the romance of Italy and utilises his time to do research for his soon to open restaurant ignoring Sophie. The lonely Sophie discovers by chance an unanswered "letter to Juliet" by Claire in 1950's -- one of thousands of missives left at the fictional lover's Verona courtyard, which are typically answered by the "secretaries of Juliet". She answers it and soon enough the now elderly Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) arrives in Verona with her handsome barrister grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan) who works for human rights. Charlie and Sophie take an instant dislike for each other with Charlie behaving very brusque with Sophie while she is very sarcastic with him. On the other hand Claire is still looking to rediscover her long lost love, Lorenzo Bartolini. Sophie thinking Claire's story might help her in her writing career decides to help her in her quest. What happens next is a story of romantic twists and turns. They look for many Lorenzo Bartollinis. After many days of searching, they find that a Lorenzo Bartolini has been dead. An angry Charlie blames Sophie for his grandmother's sadness. He yells at her, stating that she does not know what real loss is, which causes an upset Sophie to walk away. Claire, seeing the little dispute, tells Charlie that he was wrong and that Sophie's mother had walked away from her when she was a little girl. The next day, Claire insists that Charlie apologize to Sophie at breakfast, and he does. After dinner, Sophie goes out with Charlie and talks to him about love, when he accidentally kisses her. The next morning, it is their last day of searching for Claire's long lost love. On a whim, Claire points out a vineyard to Charlie and asks if he could stop by so the three of them can have a farewell drink for Sophie. As Charlie drives down the road, Claire sees a young man who looks exactly like her Lorenzo. She yells at Charlie to stop, and he complies. They discover that the man is Lorenzo Bartolini's grandson. Claire and Lorenzo reunite after 50 long years. Back in New York, Sophie and Victor decide to break up. Sophie returns to Verona to be at Claire and Lorenzo's wedding. She finds Charlie there with another woman, Patricia, and runs out. Charlie comes to find her (in a classic balcony setting) and she admits she loves him, but tells him to go back to his date. Telling Sophie that the girl was actually his cousin Patricia, not his ex-girlfriend Patricia, he tells her he loves her and wants to be with her. He accidentally falls off the balcony and they kiss as he's lying on the ground. Cast

* Amanda Seyfried as Sophie Hall, a fact checker living in New York. She goes on a pre-honeymoon with her fiance to Verona, Italy. While sightseeing, she finds "Juliet's House" with weeping women writing letters and leaving them there. She follows a young woman who takes the letters, and while helping her the next day, she finds a 50-year old letter and decided to write back, leading her to meet Claire, the woman who had written the letter. She embarks on a journey with Claire and her grandson Charlie to find Claire's long lost love. She is Charlie's love interest. * Chris Egan as Charlie Wyman, Claire's unpleasant grandson (as he described himself). Although he appears to be like that, and also grumpy, Claire explains that he has a good heart, like his grandfather. Charlie soon develops a relationship with Sophie, and he becomes her love interest. * Vanessa Redgrave as Claire Smith-Wyman, the girl who wrote the letter to Juliet 50 years before. Sophie meets her after Charlie goes to Juliet's secretaries, and she follows him. She is a kind woman, and develops a close friendship with Sophie as they search for her Lorenzo, her long lost love whom she fell in love with when they were fifteen. Her parents did not approve of him, and they were separated. * Franco Nero as Lorenzo Bartolini, Claire's love interest and long lost love. He met her when they were fifteen years old, in Verona. Claire's parents did not approve of him, and soon they were separated. His son and grandson are both named Lorenzo Bartolini, and they work at a grape vineyard. Nero is Redgrave's real life husband. Roger Ebert, having interviewed both Nero and Redgrave on the set of Camelot, noted how much of the love story between their characters is nearly autobiographical.[3] * Gael García Bernal as Victor, Sophie's chef fiance. He is constantly busy and barely has time with Sophie. Most of the time during their time in Verona, he is away in some other town while Sophie helps Claire and Charlie. He is even interested in Juliet's secretaries' kitchen's recipes. * Lidia Biondi as Donatella, one of Juliet's secretaries. * Daniel Baldock as Lorenzo Jr., the older one of Lorenzo's sons. * Milena Vukotic as Maria, one of Juliet's secretaries.

* Luisa Ranieri as Secretary, one of the four original Juliet's secretaries. * Marina Massironi as Francesca, another one of Juliet's secretaries. * Ashley Lilley as Patricia, Charlie's cousin who has the same name as his ex-girlfriend. * Oliver Platt (uncredited) as New York magazine editor

Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/letters-to-juliet-1#ixzz1FSAygn5q

Letters to Juliet Review: Can Love at First Sight Last Forever? May 16, 2010 by Trisha Leigh   
Filed under Movies, feature overlay
13 Comments
Oddly enough, I fell in love with this movie back in November. I saw the preview before New Moon, and by the end of the film I felt more excitement over seeing Letters to Juliet than Jacob’s abs. Shocker, right? I’ve waited what seems like forever, then a few days before the film came out I started to worry. Would it disappoint me? The short answer is no, it didn’t. In reality it delivered more than I expected, and that’s saying something. On the flip side, if you are a girl like me, one who has occasionally displayed the inability to nail down that line between fantasy and reality, movies like this should come with warning labels. Other movies in this category: Pride and Prejudice, The Notebook, and Sleepless in Seattle. Among many, many more. Why?

Because they make us believe that if we love someone, they will wait for us – even years down the road. They will build us our white house with blue shutters and never fall in love with another woman because loving us and losing us broke something inside them. When we get ourselves together, realize what we want, and return to say I love you, he’ll be waiting. Right? RIGHT?!? Let me just tell you, that is NOT right. There may or may not be a story behind my unique knowledge. I may or may not have watched The Notebook one too many times before making that ill-advised trip. Ahem. Back to the film.

Do we know from the beginning that Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) will find her long lost love Lorenzo Bartolini (Franco Nero)? Also that Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) and Charlie (Christopher Egan) will fall in love along with way and that she’ll break up with her fiance (Gael Garcia Bernal)? Of course. The nice thing about this film is that is also offers plenty of surprises. First, the love interest Charlie, is a bit different than your normal romantic lead. He’s an ass. He’s rude, he puts Sophie down for her American euphemisms, and even suggest that her fiance is saddled with a terrible burden in her love. The writer plays the uptight, no fun British stereotype to the hilt in his character, but it works and his sense of humor is oddly charming. Sophie is not the type of girl to take such treatment and let it roll off her back, but instead gives Charlie’s attitude back to him in a double doses every chance she gets. The dialogue is clever, and the writer used every opportunity to let us learn more about the characters as they learned about each other, instead of having us feel as though information were being thrown at us. The mix of their personalities put them on a level playing field in a fun way, and I thought it was well done. Second, Sophie’s relationship with Victor, her fiance, came across very authentic and natural, right down to the break-up scene. Victor’s not a bad guy. He’s a passionate chef, he’s opening a restaurant, and wants to use his time in Italy to meet suppliers, try cheese and wine, and learn from some of the best cooks in the world. I get that. Sophie looked at the trip as a pre-honeymoon, and wanted to spend time together doing couple stuff. I get that too. In the end, they just aren’t right for each other. We’ve all experienced that. Nicely done, part two. I’ve read other reviews criticizing the main characters and accusing them of being unlikable and having no reason to fall in love with one another. I don’t agree. How many of us have met someone who irritates us, or always says the wrong thing, but when we get to know them and to understand their motivations, it creates love and care. These characters don’t start out terribly likable, but they get there by the end of the film. Once again, feeling authentic and like people I can relate to. Third, Vanessa Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave, Vanessa Redgrave. She does a magnificent job in this film, wringing emotion, whether it be humor, longing, or love, out of every moment she graces the screen. She breathes life into a plot that might fall flat without her brilliance. We all know (right, ladies?) that sometimes itis too late for love. The majority of people who go looking for a summer fling they had fifty years ago are going to come up empty handed or worse. Still, because of her natural charm, we understand her persistence and root for her. We want her to find Lorenzo. We want him to remember her, recall the feelings he once had, and embrace her once again. I don’t feel I need to summarize the plot. The previews do that for you, and reveal a bit too much if you ask me. For a bonus perk, the Italian scenery is gorgeous and for anyone who loves Romeo and Juliet (guilty), the story of Juliet’s wall, as well as the balcony scenes, will also be a plus. The end is cheesy, but mostly because of the film’s attempt to pay one more homage to Romeo and Juliet, so I forgive it. Amanda Seyfried is beautiful and charming in equal doses, and it’s not surprising that everyone in the film falls at her feet. I’m guessing I would too. There wasn’t a single moment that pulled me out of the film or left me rolling my eyes at the ridiculousness of it all. Don’t get me wrong. It’s ridiculous. It will never happen in real life. People don’t remember lovers for fifty years, boys don’t pine away after girls they think are married for months on end, and I’m pretty sure nobody in real life looks like Amanda Seyfried did in that amazing green dress at the end of the film. Then again, perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe I’m jaded, and cynical, and all those other nasty words for what we become after years of disappointment. It just might be possible for two people to love each other for their entire lives and be the better for it. Are some loves meant to be? What do you think? While you’re considering, go see Letters to Juliet. Trust me on this one. There is a brick wall in Verona, Italy, the setting for Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” where women for generations have been leaving notes seeking romantic advice from “Juliet.” The letters are dutifully answered by teams of volunteers. Skip to next paragraph

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Upon this frail filament of a story line is strung “Letters to Juliet,” a movie that has more sap than a pine forest. Amanda Seyfried, who seems to be everywhere in the movies these days, plays Sophie, an American vacationing in Italy with her restaurant owner fiancé Victor (Gael García Bernal). A fact checker for the The New Yorker who dreams of becoming a writer, Sophie gets her chance when she accidentally pries loose from the Verona wailing wall an undelivered 50-year-old letter, which she answers herself, from an Englishwoman named Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) about a lost love. Sophie’s response is so heartfelt that it has the surprise effect of luring Claire, along with her wary, belligerent grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan), back to Verona in search of lost lover Lorenzo. Filling up entire notebooks with observations for an article, Sophie teams with them to track him down. No secret where any of this is going. While Victor is gallivanting all over Tuscany in search of the perfect truffle or the best wine, Sophie has plenty of time to contemplate Claire’s ardor – and Charlie’s handsomeness. We’re supposed to see Sophie and Charlie as junior-league counterparts to Claire and Lorenzo. Will they blow their chance at a lifetime of bliss like the oldsters did, or will they have the courage to embrace true love? If you guess wrong on this, you should have your head, as well as your heart, examined. Seyfried is fetchingly winsome, though the director, Gary Winick, overindulges her big blue-green eyes. Redgrave, alchemist that she is, transforms corn syrup into vintage wine. She’s one of those actresses who can make even the dreariest role look good. (Lorenzo, by the way, is played by Franco Nero, her real-life husband. They cast many smoldering glances at each other. Any acting required for these scenes?) The best reason to see “Letters to Juliet” is for the scenery. Why put up with airport traffic, full body searches, Icelandic ash clouds, and lost luggage when, instead, you can sit back and bask in the warm earth tones and blue vistas of Verona, Siena, Lake Garda, and Argiano. This movie doesn’t need a ticket for admittance. Just a passport will do. Grade: C (Rated PG for brief rude behavior, some language and incidental smoking.) In their book, “Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare’s Great Heroine, The Magical City of Verona and The Power Of Love,” sisters Lisa and Ceil Friedman explore the fascination the entire world has with the legendary teenage Juliet.

The sisters discover that the guardianship of the legend of Juliet is one that the City of Verona has tended to for over seven decades. Although the Shakespeare characters are fictional, they are based in part on historical families who once resided in the beautiful Italian village, and each year thousands of visitors descend on the town looking for anything related to the beloved “Juliet” and her “Romeo.”

In addition to their diligence in answering the letters sent to “Juliet,” the town maintains the buildings and other sites that are a part of the legend, including “Juliet’s” tomb and the Friedman sisters include this background information, along with several delicious recipes that have been inspired by the characters of “Romeo and Juliet.”

Filled with gorgeous photographs and luminous artwork, this book includes samples of the many letters that are received, many humorous and light, some heart-wrenching – but all seeking the same thing – advice on their love lives from the lady who is the epitome of young love – Juliet.

With the fascination with all things Juliet – books, movies, and more, “Letters to Juliet” is a wonderful companion to understanding the legend, the lore and the history surrounding this beloved literary character.

The Juliet Club has a wonderful website that tells the story of the ladies who answer the letters, as well as having information on the various contests and festivals that are associated with Verona and the beloved Juliet.  Check out their 

t was clear from the trailer that Letters to Juliet wasn’t going to be high art, a timeless romance like Gone with the Wind or Atonement (review). It was a trailer that crammed the entire film into its two minute and thirty one second running time complete with stolen looks, half hidden smiles and Taylor Swift. The sort of thing designed to sweep the romantics off their feet and it must have worked because it caught my attention. Sophie and Victor are in love and engaged. She’s a fact checker for The New Yorker. He’s a budding chef getting ready to open his first restaurant. They’ve planned a trip to Italy. For her, it’s a pre-wedding honeymoon. For him it’s a business trip (with a little fun on the side), meeting and schmoozing with suppliers. After a day together driving across the Italian countryside tasting cheese, olive oil and wine, they decide to part ways for a few days. He to work, she to see the sites. “Win win” Victor says. During an excursion to Juliet Capulet’s home, she spots a woman taking away the letters that hopeful romantics leave behind, uncovers Juliet’s secretaries, responds to a 50 year old letter and a short week later, is met by a handsome Brit who has returned to Verona with his grandmother on a wild goose chase searching for an old love – all thanks to Sophie’s letter. The rest of the film, as you may guess, is one car ride after another as Sophie accompanies Charlie (the grandson) and Claire in search of her Lorenzo.

Letters to Juliet could easily have been a disaster of unparallelled proportions. It’s a film where nothing really happens. There’s little action and even the most talented director would have a hard time building any sort of chemistry around three people in a car, three people who hardly talk and that, when they do, spew the cheesiest lines you could ever dream up. Open up a Harlequin and you’re likely to find some of this stuff in there. Then there’s the contrived story that starts to fall apart as soon as you start thinking about it; pepper in enough meaningful, half hidden looks and furrowed brows to rival Twilight (review) and you sort of get the idea. Yet, with everything going against it,Letters to Juliet manages to work. Blame it (or more accurately, credit) the cast that takes these paper thin characters and works them not into something believable, but tolerable, too-perfect people who are so sweet you can’t help but like them. It all starts with Gael García Bernal who steals the show as the self centered Victor. Yeah, he’s an ass but a hysterically likable one (you’ve never seen Bernal like this – unless you’ve seen Rudo y Cursi). “Kings”star Christopher Egan plays the outwardly cold but inwardly romantic Charlie with charm. I’m willing to bet he’s the next big thing out of Australia and though he’s no Sam-action-superstar-Worthington, he reminds me of a young Heath Ledger in everything from his looks and mannerisms to his acting; he’s definitely one to watch. As for the ladies, Amanda Seyfried continues to bear the torch of someone who makes even the most benign film interesting while Vanessa Redgrave marks her talents with small actions. At one point she hugs Sophie, twisting her hair into a lose knot – a small, almost careless action that adds meaning to the embrace and confirms that Redgrave is as sharp now as she ever was. In the end, it’s the combined performances that make Letters to Juliet enjoyable. It’s impossible not to smile at the sweetness and get lost in wondering “what if?” It’s a fairy tale romance complete with prince charming, white horse (ok – so it’s brown) and a happily ever after. For some this combination will prove lethal, an overload of sugar with no spice while others, myself included, will see an opportunity to escape into a girlish dream if only for a few hours. Verona|

The history| | |
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Verona originated in the prehistoric age, probably on the present site of the Ponte Pietra, where the river Adige could be forded along the salt and amber route from the Adriatic to Germany.Possibly founded by the Veneti, it was of great importance in the Roman Age and became a Roman town in 49 B.C.In 312 A.D. Pompeianus, General of Maxentius was defeated and killed near Verona by Constantine. It became Christian in the 4th century, till it became the beloved city of Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoth kingdom in the middie of the 5th century, then a Longobardic dukedom and the seat of Pipin, King of Italy under the Carolingian Empire. In the 11th century Verona was joined to the Mark of Bavaria and in 1136 it became a municipality.| | | | | | | | | | | |

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Having come under the power of Ezzelino da Romano, it came under the dominion of the Scaliger family, whose seigniory lasted from 1277 until 1387, when it fell into the hands of the Viscontis. In 1405 Verona volutarily offered itself to the Venetians, under whose government it remained until 1796, when the Republic of Venice was invaded by Napoleon. After the short-lived rule of the Kingdom of Italy Verona was occupied by the Austrians in 1814 and returned to the dominion of Italy in 1866.  Verona was the papal seat of Pope Lucius III (Ubaldo Allucignoli di Lucca) from 1181 to 1185, the year when the Conclave which elected Pope Urban III was held in Verona. Pope Lucius III is buried in the choir of the Cathedral, where there is a memorial stone inscribed to him.| |

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The historical epoch: The history of Romeo and Juliet took place while in Verona the Scaligeri were reigning. After the period in which Alberto I della Scala governed, the regency was kept during the years 1301-1304 by the magnanimous Bartolomeo I della Scala, who tried, in vain, to appease the hate of the internal struggles between the families of Verona, divided into Guelphs and Ghibellines. Bartolomeo I had also the honour of giving hospitality to the exiled Dante Alighieri, who dedicated him a sestina in the verses of the canto XVII of the Paradise.| TOP|  |  |

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The poet makes also mention, in his Comedy, to the rivalry between the Montecchi and the Capuleti, in the canto IV of the Purgatory: obviously the events narrated by Shakespeare took place in 1303, that his the age of Bartolomeo I della Scala.

The literary origin: In 1524, the captain of Vicenza Luigi da Porto, who had been wounded during a battle, retired to write down his war memories: there was a big contrast between the failure of his writings and the success of his “Historia novellatamente ritrovata di due nobili amanti con la loro pietosa morte intervenuta già al tempo di Bartolomeo della Scala” (The history of two noble lovers and their piteous death occurred during the reign of Bartolomeo della Scala). It’s a long work printed in 1531, that contained all the fact that Shakespeare would narrate later. Da Porto explains that the plot was given him by an archer named Pellegrino da Verona. It is probable that an oral tradition about the history of the two lovers already existed at the age. The narration of Da Porto was than elaborated again by Matteo Bandello in 1554, but the year before a poem in octavo rhyme of an anonymous writer, perhaps Gerardo Boldiero, was circulating with the title of ‘Clizia to his Ardeo’. The historicist of Verona, Girolamo Dalla Corte, in his “Historie”, written in 1560, tries to sustain the reality of this legend. The history of the unlucky lovers became famous all around Europe, so that the English writers Arthur Brooke, in 1562, and William Painter, in 1569, wrote a version of it. Also the Spanish Lope de Vega ventured upon the narration in 1590, and he obtained his aim.  Finally, in 1596, Shakespeare gave to the world his immortal version, that was represented at the English Theatre, playing himself the part of Mercuzio or Fray Lorenzo. A year later he printed “The excellent tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, as it has often been represented to the public (with great success) by the servants of the very honourable lord Hudson”, while in 1599 a second corrected edition had been printed.  Since Shakespeare had never been in Italy, he probably took the subject from the versions of Brooke and Painter. Moreover Brooke affirmed to have seen the drama played at the theatre before 1562.| | | | | | The burial-place: The ancient church of S. Francesco al Corso, built in 1230, where, according to the shakespearian history, Romeo and Juliet secretly got married, had been destroyed, the first time, in 1447. In 1459 the church was built again, and in 1548 was entrusted to the convent of the Converted Women or ‘Zitelle’, commonly known as the ‘franceschine’. The buildings were partly destroyed by the explosion of a powder magazine, situated in the Tower of the Straw (Torre della Paglia), in 1624. Built up again, after the Napoleonic suppressions, it became property of the State in 1803, and was destined to military uses and to the welfare institutions. In the XX century in the zone near the “Franceschine” the construction of the Campo Fiera rose (1926). The whole area was seriously damaged by the war incursions of the Second World War (1944-45). The bell tower of the Church, built in the XIV century, collapsed in 1959, and the same occurred to the east part of the cloister in 1978, while the south aisle is nowadays unsafe. Fortunately, the complex was destined, in 1973, to become a museum, a part of which has been used as a Museum of the Frescos, dedicated to G.B. Cavalcaselle, so that the crypt containing Juliet’s Tomb, gained in importance thanks to an historical contest that can give it the right value.|

 

 

 

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The Tomb: in the underground crypt, that is situated in the east wing of the cloister, we find the red marble sepulchre without a cover, where the tradition has always wanted the mortal remains of the young heroine to be located. It is known that in the past the ecclesiastic burial was denied to the homicides and suicides, but referring to Juliet, as the legend wants, the authorities were moved to pity and accepted to give her a simple burial without any kind of heraldic bearings or inscriptions. According to the same tradition of the XVI century, when the fame of the legend increased, the church decided, in order to hide the scandal, to desecrate the tomb, by dispersing the bones and the cover, and converting the grave in a vessel for the water, as Dalla Corte remembers (1592). It became later a destination of various pilgrimages, between which the most important is the one of Maria Luisa of Austria, in 1822, who did not resist to the fascinating idea of possessing a souvenir of the famous sepulchre, and wanted some jewellers to work her a necklace and two earrings with some pieces of stones taken from the grave. George Byron as well couldn’t resist to the temptation of keeping away some little pieces of Juliet’s tomb, to give them as a present to her daughters and grand-daughters. At the beginning of the XIX century, the playwright Augusto of Kotzebue narrates that, in Vienna, the archduke Giovanni showed him, very proud, the cover of the tomb, that he transported himself from Verona.When, in 1842, the ‘franceschine’, left the convent, the tomb had been forgotten. The English writer Charles Dickens, who was became enthusiastic about Verona, during a visit to the sepulchre that he defined as a ‘horse-pond’, got very annoyed because of the total careless of it. Later, with the arrival of the Congregation of Charity in 1868, the grave was put under a portico, together with the ruins of the ancient cloister, in order to protect it. But only in 1898 they tried to find out an ideal settlement, and they changed the whole place when in 1910 a herma to Shakespeare was inaugurated. Only in 1935, when Antonio Avena decided to put in some museum the artistic patrimony of the town, the sepulchre was moved, and it was collocated in an underground crypt next to the cloister, where nowadays still remains a sure destination of the pilgrimages. Romeo and Juliet in the art: there are lots of artistic evidences dedicated to the Shakespearian drama; as for the painting, the canvas painted by the Venetian Francesco Hayez, the famous ‘Juliet’s funeral’ by Scipione Vannutelli, and ‘The last kiss of the two lovers of Verona’ by Gaetano Previati, are unforgettable. The music and the dance celebrate Romeo and Juliet’s myth thanks to Vincenzo Bellini, Hector Berliotz, Serghej Prokofiev, Leonard Bernstein. In the theatre, we have to remember the first appearance in Verona of a very young Eleonora Duse, as the Shakespearian heroine. The cinema too gives importance to this tragedy, with George Cukor’s masterpiece of 1936, Leonardo Castellini’s film of 1951, and with Franco Zeffirelli’s poetic version. Also two important artists of Verona are to be mentioned: Angelo dall’Oca Bianca, with his paintings, and Berto Barbarani with the poem ‘Romeo and Juliet’, written in the vernacular.| | | | | |

Forgive me if this sounds petty, but I've got a big problem with the fundamental premise at the heart of Letters to Juliet. Namely, who on earth would ask Shakespeare's Juliet for romantic advice? She's a girl who killed herself at the age of 13 over a boy she'd known for a matter of weeks-- her story is a cautionary tale of all the ways that love can go wrong. And yet, Letters to Juliet not only asks us to believe that reasonable people would do this, but gives us two major characters-- young Sophie, played Amanda Seyfried, and elderly Claire, played by Vanessa Redgrave-- who honestly believe Juliet would have valid romantic advice for them.

If you can get on board with this premise, though, you'll probably be just fine withLetters to Juliet, which features plenty of beautiful Italian scenery and food, comforting pop montages, Amanda Seyfried's glowing blond hair, and a satisfying number of close-up shots of Gael Garcia Bernal. It's harmless and pretty and utterly predictable, but kind of a waste of time for anyone who's ever seen, well, any other romantic comedy set in a beautiful location. You may find yourself booking a ticket to Italy's wine country without any memory of the movie that inspired you to do it in the first place.

The fantasy starts early and back in New York, where Sophie is a fact checker forThe New Yorker and is engaged to hot chef Victor played by mega-hot Gael Garcia Bernal, a man who is marked from the beginning as the wrong guy (this, simply, is not possible). The two jet off to Verona as a pre-honeymoon, where Victor spends his time seeking out new Italian food suppliers, and Sophie, because she is an idiot, is not interested in joining him on exclusive tours of boutique wineries or dairy farms. Instead Sophie moons around "Juliet's balcony" and watches lovelorn women writing letters to the doomed heroine, eventually finding a 50-year-old letter written by Claire, heartbroken that she jilted the Italian man who was her one true love. 

Sophie contacts Claire and soon finds herself driving around the Italian countryside with the septugenarian and her priggish grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan), whose skepticism naturally made him my favorite character. No one but Charlie takes the time to wonder if it's truly a good idea for an elderly woman to seek out a man she hasn't seen in 50 years, or to ask whether or not this Lorenzo (eventually played by Franco Nero) even remembers her-- and for his logic he's rewarded with total scorn, both from Sophie and director Gary Winick. Of course, Sophie and Charlie eventually start falling for each other, simply because that's what happens in this kind of movie; there's just no place for cynics in this world.

Of course, I went into this movie looking for a cynic to identify with, and softer viewers, or those more susceptible to travel porn, will probably be just fine watching Sophie and Claire gaze up at the stars or moan about what misery live without love could be. If you are this kind of person, you know it already. If you're not, Letters to Juliet won't even try to convince you-- go ahead and buy another ticket to Iron Man 2instead. 

REVIEW: LETTERS TO JULIET
by: Chris BumbrayMay. 14, 2010

PLOT: Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), a fact checker for The New Yorker, is in Verona on a pre-honeymoon with her restaurateur fiancée (Gael Garcia Bernal). One day, while visiting the historic home of Juliet Capulet, immortalized in ROMEO & JULIET, she discovers a fifty year old letter, involving a teenage English girl, abandoning her Italian lover to please her rigid parents. Sophie innocently answers the letter, only to discover that the girl, Claire, now a woman in her sixties (Vanessa Redgrave), has traveled to Verona, along with her grandson Charlie (Chris Egan) in search of her lost lover. REVIEW: Amidst a slew of terrible chick flicks, and insipid romantic comedies, it's always a surprise to discover an example of the genre that DOESN'T suck, so LETTERS FROM JULIET was a pleasant surprise. I really expected to loathe this film, as it was from the director of BRIDE WARS, and had a gooey trailer that made it look like a NOTEBOOK rip-off. Suffice to say, I didn't loathe it at all, and to my great surprise, was somewhat charmed by it. >

While it hardly breaks any new ground, LETTERS FROM JULIET is aided greatly by the fact that it was shot on location in Verona and Tuscany, so there's lots of breathtaking scenery to admire, not the least of which is leading lady Amanda Seyfried. Until now, I never got what all the fuss was about regarding Seyfried. Sure, she's got the all-American/cheerleader good looks, and a KILLER body, but I didn't find her the most charismatic girl in the world. Seyfried's been real busy lately, with LETTERS being her third film to come out in the last six months- but all these roles seem to have paid off as she's matured into a capable actress. She does well carrying the film, which I suppose is her first real lead, and I found her immediately likable. It helps that she's paired up with an old pro in the form of Vanessa Redgrave, who plays the older Claire. Redgrave's still a wonderful actress, and a beautiful woman despite her age. As the object of her affection, I got a kick out of seeing DJANGO himself, Franco Nero, turn up. Nero and Redgrave have quite the history, with the two of them having had a relationship around the time they did CAMELOT back in 1967. Since then, their relationship has supposedly been on again/off again, but a few years ago, they reunited for good, and were married. Obviously, the two truly love each other, and that comes across on-screen, and gives the film a weight it wouldn't have had otherwise. Their scenes together are both bittersweet, and touching and made me wish the film had focused more strongly on them.

Alas, I suppose audiences aren't terribly interested in a love story between two people in their sixties, so we get a tacked on relationship between Seyfried' and Egan. In comparison, their romance pales. Egan's a blond haired, blue eyed pretty boy, who's incredibly bland in this (although I've heard he was good in a short-lived TV show called KINGS). He tries way too hard to channel Hugh Grant, but he doesn't quite cut it. Their relationship is right out of the rom-com play book, with them initially hating each other, until suddenly falling head over heels in love. BUT WAIT!!! She's already engaged!!! What will they do??? Their whole relationship is as clichéd as can be, but had Egan been a worthy romantic partner, it wouldn't really have mattered. Inexplicably, the filmmakers decided to put Gael Garcia Bernal, a brilliant Spanish actor, in as Seyfried's clueless fiancée. Bernal's way too good an actor to get such a worthless role, and he would have made a far better romantic partner for Seyfried than Egan. Having him turn up in a film like this is like having Daniel Day-Lewis turn up in a stoner comedy- it just doesn't fit. That aside, LETTERS FROM JULIET is still a pretty charming film, and the tween-friendly audience I saw it with seemed to eat it up (although they became a hysterical mob when the TWILIGHT ECLIPSE trailer played before the movie). I'm pretty tough to please when it comes to films like this, but I actually enjoyed this movie despite my cynical self. While it's not a great flick, it gets the job done, and would make a solid date flick.

Gary Winick’s Letters to Juliet is such a gentle romantic comedy that it barely feels like a romantic comedy at all, at least not in the way we currently define the genre. There’s no Amy Adams hilariously slipping through the mud in her high heels, no Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey uproariously pretending not to like each other as they traipse around some tropical island in their shorts, no dueling brides catfighting about who’s going to have her dream wedding at the Plaza on a specific day.Letters to Juliet also has the distinction of featuring a marvelous performance from the woman who is, in my view, our greatest living actress. And yet there were very few critics at one of the only New York press screenings of Letters to Juliet, which suggests to me that it’s somehow viewed as disposable, a movie not worth bothering with. Their loss. If even half the movies coming out of Hollywood these days, regardless of the genre they fit into, were made with as much care and spirit as Winick and his cast have poured into Letters to Juliet,the current moviegoing landscape would be a much greener, happier place. The plot of Letters to Juliet is the sort that generally gets the word “formulaic” slapped on it: Amanda Seyfried is Sophie, an aspiring writer who is, for now, toiling away as a fact checker at The New Yorker. (Her boss there, the big cheese, is played by Oliver Platt — just call him Oliver Plattnick.) Sophie is engaged to be married to Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal), who’s preoccupied with the restaurant he’s about to open. The two have planned a pre-wedding pre-honeymoon to romantic Verona, Italy. But upon their arrival Victor, busy tasting cheese and buying wines at auction, proceeds to ignore her. Sightseeing by herself, she makes her way to one of the city’s landmarks, a house that might have belonged to Shakespeare’s doomed heroine Juliet had she been a real person. To plenty of people, Juliet is real — visitors, most of them women, pour their hearts out to her in hand-written letters, which they then place along the house’s outer wall. At the end of each day the letters are collected and answered by a group of volunteers, Juliet’s “secretaries” (played here by a four actresses who twinkle just enough, but not too much, including Luisa Ranieri). After befriending these women, Sophie makes a discovery that could be the subject of her first big story: Hidden behind a loose brick in the wall, she finds a letter dated 1957, from an English girl who fears she’s made a mistake by walking away from her young Italian lover. Sophie responds to the letter, and is astonished when a stuffy young English twerp, Charlie (Christopher Egan), shows up in Verona along with the writer of the letter, his grandmother Claire (Vanessa Redgrave), now a 70-something widow. Claire hopes to reconnect with her lost love, a guy named Lorenzo, and Charlie is none too pleased about it: He doesn’t want to see his grandmother hurt or disappointed. Nonetheless, the three find themselves criss-crossing the Tuscan countryside in the hopes that Claire will find her Lorenzo, among the dozens of Lorenzos with the same surname who live in the area. Their search — and Sophie’s gradual realization that Charlie isn’t such a dink after all — constitutes the “formula” of Letters to Juliet.

But really, isn’t formula just another word for a storytelling convention that can work badly or well, depending on how it’s approached? There are no new stories, but there are always pleasing and engaging ways of telling the old ones, and Winick — working from a script by Jose Rivera and Tim Sullivan — gets it right here. In the course of his career Winick has been responsible for one or two horrors. (The 2009 Bride Wars, the movie featuring those aforementioned Plaza-crazed brides, is one of them.) But with pictures like 13 Going on 30 andCharlotte’s Web, he’s also proved that working in the Hollywood mainstream doesn’t mean you have to check your brain or your sense of craftsmanship at the door. There are places where Letters to Juliet could use some crisper guidance — it goes a little soft in the midsection. Then again, the picture’s meandering, laid-back nature is itself suitably Italian: There are no madcap mishaps here, no desperate dashes for nonstop yuks. Letters to Juliet features a number of small, luminous touches, visual and otherwise, that indicate a filmmaker who’s blessedly awake at the switch: The bubbles in a champagne glass dissolve into stars dotting an inky sky; when Claire tenderly offers to brush Sophie’s hair, Winick discreetly pulls the camera back instead of going in for a close-up, giving the moment the understated grace of a Cassatt painting. And it’s simply a pleasure to watch a movie that doesn’t look as if it were dug up from the bottom of a litter box. The DP here is Marco Pontecorvo (son of filmmaking great Gillo), and while you could argue that it’s hard to mess up a picture shot in the Tuscan countryside, Pontecorvo does more than just point the camera at beautiful scenery. He gives the movie’s interiors a luxe, cozy glow; he treats sunlight on stucco or stone as a thing of casual beauty, instead of forcing it into stiff compositions. The picture never looks fussed-over or flattened — it breathes, as opposed to just looking merely pretty. Pontecorvo approaches the actresses with the same uncalculated respect. The actors here offer plenty sturdy support for their female counterparts: Bernal’s character is scattered but sympathetic; Egan, deeply unlikable at first, by the end opens himself to the camera in a way you’d never see coming. But the picture really belongs to its two leads. Seyfried gives a wonderfully loose, unstudied performance — nothing she does is forced. And it doesn’t hurt that she has the most gorgeous, enormous eyes in movies today: Not even Disney’s Nine Old Men could have dreamed them up. And then there’s Redgrave, whose performance here is a rebuke to anyone who might think Letters to Juliet is just a nice little movie for grannies and no one else. Redgrave puts all she’s got into something other actors might just toss off or throw away. She’s present every moment; this is an actress who doesn’t have a second to waste. Those of you who are supersensitive to spoilers (and who haven’t already seen the trailer, which pretty much gives the whole game away) should stop reading here. Redgrave’s Claire does find her Lorenzo — he’s played, in a warm, deeply felt performance, by her real-life partner Franco Nero. Redgrave and Nero met while making the 1967 Camelot; they had a child together, separated, and reconnected years later. (They were married in 2006.) Redgrave is now 73, but it takes zero imagination to see the face of the young Guenevere in this older one. Nero makes his entrance here, Lancelot-style, on a white horse. It’s a touch so perfect, so silly-wonderful, that it’s something of a salve after the almost-too-painful moment that comes immediately before. Redgrave is now 73, but it takes zero imagination to see the face of the young Guenevere in this older one. She isn’t merely beautiful; she’s a living assurance that the young people we once were can stay alive inside us, no matter how much we grow and change. And still, the moment before Claire sees Lorenzo ride up on that horse is devastating. When she realizes she’s about to see him at last, she begs Charlie and Sophie to take her away. “He knew me when I was 15 years old, a girl,” she says, trying to cover her face with her hands, not out of self-pity, but as if she were trying to hide from herself. “That girl is gone.” The terrifying, glorious beauty of the moment is that she’s not. And if that’s what Redgrave can do in a seemingly throwaway movie, it’s time to think more carefully about the movies we cast aside.

Erica kidded me all through this this one being in the house, as, believe it or not, I've never read--nor do I intend to read--Romeo and Juliet. However, as soon as I heard of this book, I knew I needed to read it.

It turns out that, for at least a century, possibly longer, people have been writing letters to Juliet, asking her for advice. This book does some cultural anthropology into the beginnings of the letters, interspersing some of the letters actually written to Juliet over the years.

I think it's most fascinating that the first "Juliet" to respond was the male groundskeeper and that the second Juliet was also male. Though they worked alone and sometimes in anonymity, today there is a team of eight Juliets that take care of the high volume of mail she receives.

Most of the letters are fairly standard stuff of advice columns, but a few nearly brought me to tears, particularly a letter from a young lesbian in India, who not only had to face cultural bias, but one of class as well in relation to her true love.

This book was not anything like I'd expected it to be. Rather than just copy the letters for over 100 pages, the writers instead choose to focus on the historical Juliet, showing the reader around Verona and trying to locate the site of the original tomb as well as the alleged Romeo's house in addition to telling the story of how the Juliet phenomenon continued in fits and starts over the years. There are a nice selection of pictures to help visualize things, too. We probably didn't need the "history of Juliet" that opens the text, as it's less than what you'd get in an intro to the Shakespeare. However, that's a small quibble.

I think this book would make a great Travel Channel special and those of you interested in Shakespeare definitely should pick this up. It's amazing how Juliet has been turned into something of a modern goddess, in large part due to a man who wanted to do more within the civil service. It just goes to show that if you write a great character, they truly will live forever.

It is an unspoken rule that when a movie has a trailer that includes a man galloping through a vineyard on horseback, it's probably going to be a bit unrealistic and mushy. Letter's to Juliet not only meets that rule, but doubles it by cramming every romantic cliche possible into an hour and forty-five minutes.

Now, I can excuse a Romeo and Juliet reference here and there. I can even excuse the unoriginal idea of a girl caught between two guys. Unfortunately, these things are paired with other moments, including but not limited to: a guy feeding a girl pasta, a guy climbing up some ivy while delivering a love proclamation, a kiss while stargazing, an ice cream fight between lovers, and way too many balcony scenes to count. By the time a toast came along that referenced Titanic, all I wanted was the friggin' Taylor Swift song to be cued, so we could be done with it. The movie follows Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), a fact checker for the New Yorker with dreams of becoming a serious writer. Sophie goes on a pre-honeymoon with her eccentric, Italian fiance. I know what you are thinking. What the hell is a pre-honeymoon? I don't know. I don't want to know. Well, you know the rest... she finds a letter...blah blah blah...reunites old loves...blah blah blah...has to choose between two guys...

The predictable plot could have been salvaged by interesting characters. It wasn't. When Sophie isn't busy being boring, she can be found pouting in a corner because her boyfriend is more interested in cooking than in her. Sophie doesn't have the kind of quirkiness and spunk that romantic leads need nowadays (i.e. Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer). As if her utter lack of personality isn't enough to make you not like her, she proceeds to cheat on her fiance without regret or remorse. How charming. Charlie (Christopher Egan) is Sophie's "other man" and companion on her journey to reunite old lovers. He is so unpleasant and grumpy that the moment he confesses his love to her, it is simply unbelievable. The writers make somewhat of an attempt to make him likable by insinuating deep down he has a heart of gold. But let's just get one thing clear; the fact that you work with refugees doesn't mean you're not a jackass. The only good element in the movie besides the pretty Italian backdrop is Claire, played by Vanessa Redgrave. Her authenticity and ease at playing an elderly woman looking for her one true love is the only thing that doesn't seem forced. As the single most interesting character, it is clear that the movie should have centered around her story. Redgrave's part in the film isn't enough to save it. The worst part of the film is the way the script plays out. It's all so easy. The climax of the movie is thrown away with the unoriginal "What? You thought she was my girlfriend? No. No. It's all a misunderstanding. That's my cousin!" mishap. It's clear that Letter's to Juliet was written by some old dudes that were too lazy to come up with anything original and decided on the cheapest way out every time. Yeah. I'm talking to you, Tim Sullivan and Jose Rivera. It actually made me feel insulted that I was your target audience. I wasn't the only one insulted. I sat in the theatre with a girl whose boyfriend is in a war zone. On my other side was a group of elderly women desperately looking for a movie to relate to after their hopes were inflated by Mamma Mia... a chick flick just doesn't get an easier audience than that. When the infamous horse scene finally came around, I tried to hide my laughter to keep from disturbing the other viewers. It didn't matter. My lovesick friend was laughing. The couple in front of us were laughing. Even the Grandmas were laughing. There are really only two reasons for seeing this film. First, you are a girl who likes an occasional sappy love story. Don't do it. Letter's to Juliet does not deliver. While movies like Slumdog Millionaire and Love, Actually lift you up with refreshing plot lines and intriguing characters, this movie brings you down with its mere mediocrity. You will leave the theatre feeling worse about your love life than you did when you went in. Second, you are a guy that wants to score by taking a girl to a romantic movie. Again, don't do it. You will regret the $40 you spent on tickets and snacks and the two hours of life you wasted. Remember, you want your date to be cheap and easy, not your movie.

The very essence of the Letters to Juliet makes it such a pretty story that is hard to overlook. Here in the world where slapstick movies are a norm where sometimes you have to save your face for suggesting such a movie to your family members. Here comes a story that is funny but it does not needs dual meanings and cheap jokes. It tells the story of true love and it really touches your heart. There is a popular belief that since it is pure it might be boring. Underestimating Letters to Juliet might deprive you of this refreshing new story that takes its root from the legendary story of Romeo and Juliet. The movie shows a place where people take advice about their love life from Juliet! And that is something which is quite hard to grasp but once you have made peace with this concept the rest of the ride is rocking. Letters to Juliet stars Amanda Seyfried as Sophie, and born and raised New Yorker, who works in a local newspaper as a fact checker. She lives in the city with her fianc Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal). He is a chef by profession and is about to open a fancy new restaurant in the city itself. After the completion of the initial stages of the restaurant, Sophie and Victor decide to go on a vacation to Italy to celebrate such a momentous occasion. In Italy while Victor is busy selecting the dcor, cuisine and wines for the restaurant. Sophie starts getting bored to death. As a way to kill time she decides to go on a sightseeing trip so as to know the beautiful locales in Italy. During her trip she sees an old house where people are posting letters which are all titled “To Juliet”. Seeing this she decides to stay to check what happens of the letters. In the end she meets three others girls who call themselves as Juliet’s assistants and they reply to all the letters. She joins them and one day by accident finds a letter which was written by Claire in 1958. She had not accompanied her lover in those days and had written to Juliet about it. Sophie replies to her and as a result she meets a young man Charlie (Christopher Egan), who introduces himself to be Claire’s grandson. Then she along with Claire and Charlie decides to find the lover of Claire amidst the Italian boulevard. This movie includes first rate acting. The young Amanda has matured quite beautifully and takes the movie on her shoulder with lan; While Gael Garcia Bernal is also superb in his brief role. The only problem is the zero chemistry between Christopher and Amanda. Seeing the movie it becomes hard to fathom that these could actually be soul mates. Over all this movie is must watch and is recommended. The story is old but it does have its moments which make it very interesting to watch. Letters to Juliet is one movie where the true love beats all odds and there is no place for the cynics to survive. Go ahead and Watch Letters To Juliet over at Free Movies and for a limited time watch wonderful movies and more.

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