Polished and predictable, this romantic comedy is mostly set in sunny northern Italy, a very fine place for outdoor weddings, we discover. The source is the 2006 book “Letters to Juliet: Celebrating Shakespeare’s Greatest Heroine, the Magical City of Verona and The Power of Love” by Lise and Ceil Friedman. For decades, women have penned love letters, stuck them in cracks in a wall in Verona, and then local women write back. Jose Rivera (“The Motorcycle Diaries”) and Tim Sullivan (“Jack & Sarah”) could not resist writing a screenplay, and nor will their character Sophie (Amanda Seyfried, “Dear John”) resist writing something of her own. This New York magazine fact-checker comes upon this custom while taking a “pre-honeymoon” with her fiancé Victor (Gael García Bernal). About to open his first restaurant in New York, he is distracted by truffles, cheeses, wines and recipes. So she undertakes her first foray as an author by chronicling an irresistibly romantic quest. Claire (Vanessa Redgrave) seeks the young man she loved fifty years ago on a visit from England when she was 17. Her single grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan)—”not a big believer in happy endings”—spars with Sophie along the lovely way. Gary Winick (“Bride Wars”) directs a resistible plot about the usual second chances and changing plans. The tony scenery is nearly vandalized by intrusive, trivial songs by Taylor Swift and Colbie Caillat. But there’s one interlude where the wind plays the leaves on the trees that’s sublime. With Luisa Ranieri, Marcia DeBonis, Oliver Platt, Franco Nero.105m. (Bill Stamets)
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.