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Letters to Juliet(2010)
When Sophie travels to Verona in Italy, she stumbles upon an age-old superstition whereby people seeking advice in matters of the heart leave letters in the courtyard of the fictional Juliet, which are then answered by a group of volunteers known as the 'secretaries of Juliet'. When Sophie replies to one letter that has remained unanswered for 50 years, she is amazed when its author, Claire, arrives in Italy with her grandson Charlie to track down the fiance she left behind decades before. Sophie joins them on their quest through the hills of Tuscany as they search for Lorenzo, Claire's long-lost love - and soon finds herself tumbling headlong into a romance of her own.
For more about Letters to Juliet and the Letters to Juliet Blu-ray release, see Letters to Juliet Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on September 18, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Gael García Bernal, Vanessa Redgrave, Franco Nero, Christopher Egan
Director: Gary Winick
» See full cast & crew
Letters to Juliet Blu-ray Review
This heartfelt Romantic Comedy/Drama sparkles on Blu-ray.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, September 18, 2010
'What' and 'if' are two words as nonthreatening as words can be, but put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life.
What's the four-letter word that can make a heart melt, a mind spin, a soul stir, a body quiver, and a pulse race? No, it's not that four-letter word. It's love. One could safely bet that love has been the focus of man's attention since God created Eve from Adam's own ribs and called her "woman," making her man's companion and, eventually, partner in crime. Sure, it might have been all downhill from there, but from the writings of William Shakespeare to Haddaway asking "What is Love?" in his 1993 dance single and all the words, writings, songs, movies, and everything else that came before, now is, and will forever be, love has been the focus of man's attention since the dawn of time and, aside from death, probably the one thing he's destined to never quite figure out. For those who know it -- truly know it deep down inside and not at some Hallmark card level of superficial -- it's a thing of unspeakable joys and the bearer of a lifetime's worth of happiness with every passing moment. For those who don't know it, have lost it, or want it again, well, even that sappy greeting card sounds pretty good right about now. Director Gary Winick's (13 Going on 30) 2010 picture Letters to Juliet is all about finding the kind of love that makes a life complete. It's not about the here and now but the forever after, that longing to find just the right person or those few words that can instantly rekindle a romance lost half a century ago. It's about never giving up, about diving headfirst into the search for happiness and fulfillment, about not letting distance, time, or past hurts get in the way of coming as close to answering that age-old question -- "what is love?" -- as accurately as anyone ever can.
Destiny wanted us to meet again.
Sophie (Amanda Seyfried, Dear John) is a fact checker for New Yorker magazine. She has aspirations to be a writer, but she's so cemented in her current job that she sees no hope for achieving her goals. When she goes on a "pre-honeymoon" to Italy with her soon-to-be husband Victor (Gael García Bernal), she finds herself spending more and more time alone as Victor loses himself in his work while they're supposed to be enjoying one another's company. Sophie stumbles into her destiny when she visits a wall in Verona where heartbroken women pen their deepest secrets to the fictional Juliet Capulet of Romeo and Juliet fame. The curious Sophie follows up on the fate of the letters, learning that a team of women personally respond to each one as if they themselves were Juliet. Sophie works her way into their inner-circle and accidentally unearths a 50-year old letter to which she writes a reply. Enter Claire (Vanessa Redgrave, Howards End), author of the half-century-old letter, and her grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan). Touched by Sophie's response as Juliet and with dreams of rekindling a long-dormant love, Claire returns to Verona in hopes of finding the love of her life, the Italian Lorenzo Bartolini. While in search of Lorenzo, the three come to see firsthand the unbreakable bonds of true love. As Claire searches for Lorenzo, Sophie comes face-to-face with a potentially life-altering destiny. Can she take her own words as Juliet to heart and find her soulmate before she walks away from fate?
I guess people want to believe in true love, don't they.
Letters to Juliet might be built around a fairly typical genre façade, but far be it for even genre cynics to judge this one on its superficialities alone. Certainly, Letters to Juliet captures that "same old, same old" feel from the very first time Victor puts his restaurant and undying quest to find the perfect ingredients ahead of Sophie's feelings and their relationship, from the moment Charlie first walks onto the screen, or from the moment Sophie, Charlie, and Claire set out on their journey to find Lorenzo. There's no mystery as to how things will play out; genre veterans and newcomers alike will figure out exactly how the picture will conclude almost before it gets started, but movies like Letters to Juliet aren't necessarily about what's to be found on the surface. Instead, they're about heart, about the deeper feelings they convey and engender in audiences, about that spark, about how well they define true love and how strongly the characters emote what the filmmakers hope will be an honest, believable, and heartfelt romantic subtext. In that regard, Letters to Juliet is a rousing success. The real strength of the picture comes not necessarily from its story but in the way it's told by the lead characters. Letters to Juliet is home to several honest and moving performances, headlined by a brilliant effort by Vanessa Redgrave as Claire, a woman whose "letter to Juliet" some 50 years earlier is answered and sparks a renewed interest in finding the love of her life she once cherished but foolishly lost decades ago. Her performance is one of the more honest, touching, and seamless in some time; Redgrave is completely convincing in both her wish to be reunited with her love and the way she slyly but surely maneuvers Sophie and Charlie closer together, seeing in them what she had and lost and longs for again. Amanda Seyfried follows up her exceptional performances in Dear John and Chloe with a bright and cheerful but grounded, real, and earnest effort as Sophie; she exudes a sweetness and security in her looks and talents that few actresses can deliver. She's on the fast track to solidifying herself as one of the top actresses of the decade.
I didn't know true love had an expiration date.
Another area where Letters to Juliet works so extraordinarily well is in the juxtaposition between the characters Sophie and Claire. Here are two people living in vastly different stages of life. Sophie is a burgeoning career woman with great aspirations but saddled with a relationship that she seems to have settled on rather than truly believed in, while Claire is a much older, far more experienced lady whose heart still beats like that of a twenty-something when the possibility of rekindling a long-forgotten relationship she once thought of as "the one" that would come to define her very existence is suddenly thrust back into the forefront of her life. Through that contrast, the picture examines the notion that love supersedes all, whether age, time, distance, or the various stages of life; it's a constant, a rock, a foundation on which everything else may be built and defined, something that transcends anything and everything when it's discovered and embraced in its truest state and between two people who share that everlasting sense of kinship, romance, and spirit that joins them together as one at some invisible but no less real metaphysical level. Letters to Juliet posits that true love has no expiration date, that it's something that lingers, tugs on the heart and soul, and begs to be realized, even after years of dormancy. All it takes is a spark, a reminder, bygone words once written from the heart and that still touch it even when time has all but erased their very existence.
Letters to Juliet Blu-ray, Video Quality
It's easy to love Letters to Juliet's stunning 1080p high definition Blu-ray transfer. Although colors are very warm -- leading to reddish skin tones and a golden tint that dominates the image -- they seem to reflect Director Gary Winick's intended visual scheme. Fine detail is strong and oftentimes borders on the extraordinary. Distant backgrounds -- buildings and clumps of trees -- could stand for slightly more definition, but foreground information dazzles in most every frame. Viewers will note the finest of textures on roads, buildings, and other surfaces around Verona, while characters' faces reveal every line, wrinkle, pore, and even layers of make-up with almost limitless clarity. Summit's Blu-ray transfer is meticulously clean and free of any print anomalies or background noise. Blacks are of an inky and honest tone, and while very slight aliasing is visible in a few select shots, the transfer is otherwise free of any distracting visual bugaboos. Though some viewers may be put off by the film's obviously manipulated color scheme that lends to the image a slightly off-kilter golden appearance, there's no reason to knock the quality of the transfer itself; Summit's Letters to Juliet Blu-ray is rock-solid all around.
Letters to Juliet Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Letters to Juliet features a genre-typical soundtrack that's nicely replicated on Summit's lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio presentation. The track's best feature is easily its high quality music; it's seamless and infinitely spacious with a slight but noticeable surround support structure that accentuates rather than dominates the primary front-speaker presentation. Whether the instrumental score or the famous Taylor Swift song that plays prominently in the film, Summit's track handles it all with a natural and satisfying effortlessness that brings the music to life. The track also features some nice surround information in the form of audible ambience. Verona springs to life with chatty pedestrians, distant ringing bells, and other niceties that transport the listener to the Italian locale, while specific environmental atmospherics are smoothly and realistically integrated, particularly as heard during an exterior nighttime scene in chapter 12. Ultimately, however, Letters to Juliet is a dialogue-driven picture. While the spoken word is generally clear and easily understood, there are several instances where it plays at slightly too low a volume and becomes lost under some louder music and sound effects. Nevertheless, Letters to Juliet features a mostly stable and sturdy lossless soundtrack. It's not all that audibly impressive by its very nature but it is structurally sound and seemingly delivered as-intended.
Letters to Juliet Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Letters to Juliet debuts on Blu-ray with an average assortment of extra content. First up is an audio commentary track featuring Director Gary Winick and Actress Amanda Seyfried. This is a decent enough but fairly routine commentary; the participants affably discuss the story, shooting locations, the joys of filming in Italy, some of the technical insights behind the making of the movie, and more. Though not a must-listen, fans could do worse than plopping Letters to Juliet in the Playstation, turning on the commentary, and playing it back at 1.5x speed. The Making of 'Letters to Juliet:' In Italia (1080p, 12:40) takes viewers to Italy for a look at the making of the movie, featuring various participants praising the director, the cast, the story, and the setting. Next is A Courtyard in Verona (1080p, 5:40), a brief piece that features several individuals sharing their thoughts on love and the story of Romeo and Juliet. Rounding out the extras is an assortment of deleted and extended scenes (1080p, 10:53) with a brief introduction by Director Gary Winick.
Letters to Juliet Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Letters to Juliet is a movie that's about as sweet and well-meaning as movies like this come, and its underlying elements that get to the very heart of just what love is and the power it holds over those who have both experienced it and long for it far supersedes the various plot superficialities and transparencies. Director Gary Winick's picture is technically well-made and superbly acted, with Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave turning in two memorable and oftentimes touching performances as the leading ladies who are driven to find the same thing at different stages of their lives, with Redgrave becoming something of a motherly figure to Seyfried, her character subtly sharing her experiences in loves won and lost and found again in hopes of guiding her new friend -- her Juliet -- to find her own path towards real, honest, and true love. Letters to Juliet is far better than genre norms would suggest; one need only look past its generalities to find one of the more touching and honest movies of the past few years. Summit Entertainment's Letters to Juliet Blu-ray features a wonderful high definition transfer, a high quality lossless soundtrack, and an average selection of bonus materials. Highly recommended.
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Letters to Juliet Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Letters to Juliet Out on Flipper Blu-ray in September - July 12, 2010
Summit Entertainment has announced that it will release the romantic movie Letters to Juliet, starring Amanda Seyfried, on September 14. Like other recent day-and-date releases from Summit, this title will come out on a two-sided Blu-ray combo, with BD on one side ...
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