Letters to Juliet (2010)

(On Cable TV, February 2017) I’m not sure why I’ve been slowly warming up to Amanda Seyfried lately, after years of comparing her to a Muppet. It may be that she’s paid her dues, got a few good roles, isn’t going anywhere, is aging gracefully in her unusual looks and even seems eager to poke fun at herself (such as in the otherwise woeful Ted 2) All of this makes her more sympathetic, even in movies from a while ago. So it is that, perhaps surprisingly, Seyfried becomes one of Letters to Juliet’s most noteworthy assets, a bright presence in an otherwise dull film. Despite the time-crossed lovers premise (i.e.: a young American writer helping an elderly British woman find a long-lost love in Italy) and the luminous cinematography, Letters to Juliet is immediately familiar in the rom-com mold—there’s little doubt where things are going even early on, and much of the movie becomes a demonstrative film rather than a suspenseful one. That’s largely why the last fifteen minutes are an exercise in frustration, as the film needlessly stretches out what should be over already. Still, the portrayal of the Italian countryside is good for a bit of vicarious sight-seeing, and the film’s pairs of romantic leads are good at what they’re supposed to do. It doesn’t amount to much more than a standard rom-com, but there are days when even an average rom-com is just what’s needed.

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