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Film / Letters to Juliet

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Letters to Juliet is a 2010 romantic drama starring Amanda Seyfried and Chris Egan, Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero. It is the tale of Sophie, a young American who travels to the city of Verona, on a "pre-honeymoon" with her fiance Victor. Verona was the home of Juliet Capulet of Romeo and Juliet fame, and due to a series of distractions and divisions, Sophie ends up joining a group of volunteers who respond to letters to Juliet seeking advice about love while her fiance drives round northern Italy looking at mushrooms and cheeses.

One letter dated 1957 falls out from behind a brick and describes how a young British girl, Claire, left her lover, Lorenzo Bartolini, waiting under their tree and went back to England. Sophie replies to Claire which inspires Claire to travel to Italy in search of her long-lost love (dragging along her grandson Charlie). The three of them set off on a trip round Tuscany to find all the men named Lorenzo Bartollini. She will know the right one by his eyes. Sophie hopes to write an article on it for her magazine and earn a promotion to writer as she is only a fact-checker. But of course, things are going to change on the trip.

(This was director Gary Winick's final film before his early demise at 49.)

Tropes in this film include:

  • Actor Allusion: Amanda Seyfried as Sophie. She played Sophie in Mamma Mia!.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: Claire and her grandson Charlie.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Sophie is in tears when she confesses to Charlie that she loves him from a balcony.
    • Charlie also delivers one to Sophie.
    Charlie: Listen. Listen to me very carefully. I live in London, a gorgeous, vibrant, historic city that I happen to love living in. You live in New York, which is highly overrated... But since the Atlantic Ocean is a bit wide to cross every day, swimming, boating or flying, I suggest we flip for it... And if those terms are unacceptable, leaving London will be a pleasure, as long as you're waiting for me on the other side. 'Cause the truth is, I am Madly, Deeply, Truly, Passionately in Love with You.
  • Arc Words: "It is never too late for true love." Claire learns this when she locates and eventually finds her lost love Lorenzo and eventually Sophie and Charlie find this as well with each other.
  • Based on a True Story: The Secretaries of Juliet are real and paid by the city of Verona.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Sophie and Charlie. From the start, they spend a majority of their time spent together bickering and snarking at one another due to their differences before getting to know each other and eventually falling for one another.
  • Bickering Couple, Peaceful Couple: Though not a couple, Sophie and Charlie bicker constantly and are at odds with one another, compared to the peaceful couple that is Claire and Lorenzo.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Sophie tells Claire that her grandson thought it would be great for the two to meet, when actually he made a snarky and antagonistic reply when Sophie suggested this. Charlie tries to smile and go along with this, but it's implied that Claire knows and finds it amusing.
    • When Charlie falls from a balcony professing his love for Sophie, he asks her if nobody saw. Sophie sees that Lorenzo and Claire are walking closer to the scene, but tells Charlie that nobody saw.
  • Casting Gag: Patricia is played by Ashley Lilley, Amanda Seyfried's real life best friend. As in the Patricia she mistakes for the ex-girlfriend.
  • Catchphrase: Victor has a habit of saying "Win-win" whenever suggesting that he and Sophie not spend time together so that they can each do something interesting on their own.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Part of the reason Charlie has to travel with his grandmother is that both his parents died in a car crash before the movie.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Charlie is very sarcastic. An example: Claire describes picnicking in the dirt:
    Sophie: That's so romantic.
    Charlie: What's romantic about eating in the dirt?
  • December–December Romance: Claire and Lorenzo, who met and fell in love when they were teenagers in 1957 and are reunited when they're both widowed and in their 60's but still in love with each other.
  • Everyone Can See It: During the wedding of Claire and Lorenzo, Sophie leaves, thinking that it was too late to be with Charlie. As he follows her, some people at the party smile approvingly.
  • Foreshadowing: Charlie discussing how he would tell the woman he loves that he loves her, alluding to Romeo and Juliet. Guess how he professes his love for Sophie in the end?
  • Forever Fling: Claire and Lorenzo reconnect and marry for 50 years with only the memories of their summer romance to justify it.
    Charlie: (about Juliet) I would have grabbed her from that blasted balcony and been done with it.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Sophie and Claire, who is a grandmother in her 60's and the other who is in her 20's and a fact checker/writer, but they get along quite well, with Sophie seeing Claire as close as a surrogate mother figure.
  • Intimate Hair Brushing: Claire brushes Sophie's hair. As Sophie never knew her mother, this shows that Claire has taken on that role for Sophie.
  • Kissing Cousins: Sophie assumes Charlie and Patricia are involved when she is told by Charlie that Patricia is his cousin, leading a confused Sophie to ask him how is that legal. Charlie scrambles to clear up any confusion between them, telling her that there are two Patricias.
  • Missing Mom: Sophie's mother abandoned both her and her father when she was a little girl.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: The main plot of the film is to see if Claire and Lorenzo still have a second chance in love. They do.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted as there are at least a dozen Lorenzo Bartolinis and the two Patricias cause confusion to Sophie.
  • Parental Abandonment: Charlie's parents died in a car accident when he was ten.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: The reason Claire and Lorenzo did not marry in 1957 was because her parents disapproved of their union when they were teenagers in love. Their disapproval prompted young Claire and Lorenzo to plan to run away together but then Claire got exams back in England and got scared due to the pressure from her parents so she ran away.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If Charlie had said "This is Patricia, my cousin, it would have saved Sophie some grief.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Charlie was raised by his grandmother after his parents had died.
  • Relative Error: The Patricia at the wedding wasn't Charlie's ex-girlfriend, but his cousin.
  • Romantic False Lead: One for each love interest, Sophie's negligent fiancée Victor and Patricia, Charlie's former love and the other wedding date (and cousin).
  • Scenery Porn: Gorgeous landscape. A review described it as an advert for the Tuscan tourist board.
  • Charlie complaining about the 74 Lorenzo Barolinis they have to interview in one hilarious rant: "It's over! Done! We found Nemo! The curtains have closed! (speaks gratuitous latin).
  • Summer Romance: Discussed in Claire's backstory. British Claire Smith met Lorenzo Bartolini, a farmhand, while on summer holiday in Tuscany in 1957. While they made plans to run away together, knowing her upper crust parents wouldn't approve, Claire felt conflicted and wrote a letter to Juliet Capulet in Verona asking for guidance. The letter was not found in time, and Claire decided to go back to London and settle down, though she never forgot Lorenzo. Sophie finding Claire's letter and answering it 53 years later kicks off the plot of the film, bringing the widowed Claire, with grandson Charlie in tow, back to Tuscany to find her summer love, which Sophie asks to write about. Lucky for Claire, Lorenzo has also since been widowed and never held her leaving against her, leading to them rekindling their romance.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music: Taylor Swift's "Love Story" plays over the scene as Sophie reads Lorenzo and Claire's wedding invite they sent to her. As Sophie takes a plane to Italy then drives the rest of the way to the location, the lyrics "Marry me Juliet, you'll never have to be alone." play out as Sophie arrives dressed for the wedding.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Anybody who has seen the trailer probably doesn't need to see the movie. It gives away the plot and the love pairings.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: When Charlie realizes he has feelings for Sophie, he goes to tell her only to find her reunited in the arms of her fiancée and leaves. When Sophie realizes she has feelings for Charlie, she breaks up with her fiancée Victor and goes to Lorenzo and Claire's wedding only to see he's with his date Patricia who unbeknownst to her was really his cousin and runs away in tears.