Apparently it's not my weekend for the arts. Want to see a really bad film with abysmal acting and wretched directing? Go see Letters to Juliet. Amanda Seyfried is really awful as Sophie, a young woman who's a fact-checker for New Yorker magazine but who wants to be a writer. Her acting (if you call it that) is straight out of Acting 101. She's not believable or relatable in the part, and has no chemistry with any of the other characters, including the two men she's supposed to be in love with. She does, however, spend a lot of time staring vacuously off into space so if you like that kind of thing this is your movie.
The actors have a lousy script to work with so I can't place all the blame with them. I'll give a big slice of responsibility-pie to Gary Winick for his mind-numbing direction. But generally good actors (that doesn't include Amanda Seyfried) were sleep-walking through this. Gael Garcia Bernal who plays Sophie's fiance is generally a charming and engaging actor but this performance is so bland you have to wonder what she saw in him in the first place. And Vanessa Redgrave, who's an icon and who looks lovely, is wooden. She seems to be thinking about everything she says. The only chemistry she has in the film is with the long-lost love (the point of the story), played by Franco Nero, who happens to be her real-life love who she got back together with after 36 years. A sweet story. He's terribly handsome and looks like my Bill.
The story revolves around Romeo and Juliet (thus the title) and that soul-mate kind of once-in-a-lifetime love that you regret giving up. Not a bad premise for a romantic comedy but in this case it's all formula and no substance. The story's contrived, right down to the hero riding in on a horse, ready to sweep his ingenue-turned-dowager off her feet, and then there's the obligatory balcony that comes out of nowhere to give Sophie her requisite Juliet-like moment.
Amazingly, I stayed for the whole thing but there were other people walking out. I should have followed them. Hindsight is 20/20.
Obviously I'm not recommending this movie on principle but I have friends/family who love this kind of film. I think my friend Joann will really like it as will my sister, Irene & Harvey and Suze & Jerry.
Let's see if I'm right.