Letters To Juliet (PG)

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The Independent Culture

Woah. For unbridled cheesiness this really does take the biscotti. Amanda Seyfried stars as Sophie, a New Yorker fact-checker who goes on a pre-nuptial holiday to Verona and discovers the oh-so-charming tradition of heartfelt letters left by women in a courtyard wall, addressed to Shakespeare's Juliet.

(A fact-checker might have pointed out to the lovesick ladies that Juliet didn't actually exist). With her super-annoying chef boyfriend (Gael García Bernal) distracted by wine auctions, our heroine picks up the story of a letter written by an English girl named Claire in 1957 to an Italian sweetheart named Lorenzo; Sophie writes back to the girl, and on the next plane comes Claire herself (played by Vanessa Redgrave, at her most fey and floaty) in search of the man a full 50 years later. Oh, and she's escorted by her bumptious grandson (Christopher Egan) who seems to be the incarnation of Lord Snooty until it's revealed he's a pro bono lawyer and... are you still with me? This looks to be on the same level of supine Italophilia as Under The Tuscan Sun, but then ascends to a higher plane of fatuous girly fantasising altogether. The director Gary Winick, already responsible for Bride Wars, seems not to notice how dim-witted and precious the whole thing is.

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