If you’re looking for a feel-good romantic comedy that has a hopeful message, then look no further than Letters to Juliet. Set in fairytale-inspiring cities in Italy as well as the magnificent Tuscan countryside, Letters to Juliet is a tribute to eternal love. The movie stars the adorable Amanda Seyfried as Sophie and the incomparable Vanessa Redgrave as Claire.
Sophie goes to Verona, the fictional city of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with her fiancé Victor, played by Gael García Bernalon, for a pre-honeymoon trip. Victor is about to open his first restaurant in New York City and is busy meeting with vintners, cheese makers, and other suppliers, leaving Sophie to sightsee alone in the incredibly romantic city of Verona.
While exploring Verona, Sophie stumbles upon the courtyard of Juliet. Here visitors can lean from Juliet’s balcony and pretend to speak with their true love below. Tourists from all over the world leave letters for Juliet on a rock wall near this balcony. Most of the letters ask for advice on heart wrenching situations like unrequited love, lost love, marital problems, loneliness, and so forth. Every day, one of the secretaries of Juliet collects the letters from the wall. She meets up with the other secretaries, and together they send a handwritten response with “Juliet’s” advice to (almost) every letter.
One day, Sophie follows one of the secretaries and learns about their letter-writing activities. They all become fast friends, and Sophie begins to spend her days answering letters along with the other secretaries of Juliet, partially because Victor is so busy and partially because she is an aspiring writer, looking for a story. Sophie stumbles on a letter left 50 years earlier by Claire, which was never answered. In it, Claire pours her heart out to Juliet because her parents have forced her to leave her true love, Lorenzo Bartolini, in Verona and return to England. Like Juliet, Claire was a teenager.
Sophie writes to Claire, and, miraculously, the now-widowed Claire receives her letter. Although Claire enjoyed a long happy marriage, she still wonders what became of Lorenzo. She decides to come to Italy to see if they can be reunited. Claire, Sophie, and Claire’s grandson Charlie, played by Christopher Egan, take off on an adventure in search of Claire’s Lorenzo. I don’t want to give it away, so I’ll tell you only this: There are many Lorenzo Bartolini’s in Italy, including a priest and a playboy.
When you watch the movie, make sure to see the special features. The film was inspired by the book Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare’s Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona, and the Power of Love by sisters Lise Friedman and Ceil Friedman. The sisters were amazed when they learned that there actually are secretaries of Juliet. You’ll learn a little about the women who have been answering letters on Juliet’s behalf for about seventy years.
Letters to Juliet is funny, sweet, and, most of all, hopeful. It’s a perfect for Valentine’s Day or a girls’ night in with some Italian wine.