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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘Letters to Juliet’

Take a break from work: watch a trailer…


It was while watching this trailer that I suddenly realized what I’ve been doing wrong all my life, why I’m tragically still Not Married at the advanced age of 40. It’s because I’ve actually been living and enjoying myself and not settling for Mr. Good Enough… because, clearly, a giving up and a giving in is what is required in order to find Mr. Right. See, it’s only on the eve of your wedding to the wrong guy (though how Gael García Bernal could ever be wrong is a mystery to me) — or after you’ve gotten yourself pregnant through modern science, or after you’ve already had the baby on your own and the baby is now in kindergarten — that a 21st-century woman can expect to finally find the perfect guy to spend whatever is left of the rest of her life with.

Perhaps there’s some sort of crushed and broken beauty in a woman who has compromised and surrendered that attracts Mr. Perfect.

Anyway, I think tomorrow I’ll go get myself engaged to some nice guy who’s wrong for me and then probably at the wedding rehearsal, when I’m depressed about the pending nuptials but resigned to going through with them, I’ll at last meet the man of my dreams. That’ll be awesome.

I actually don’t hate this trailer, and the prospect of seeing the film does not make me ill. Partly because I like Amanda Seyfried an awful lot. And partly because you can tell this is not written by Nicholas Sparks, because none of it appears to take place on a Carolina beach, and it doesn’t appear as if any characters will be sacrificed on the altar of Movie Death so that Amanda Seyfried can become a better person.

Letters to Juliet opens in the U.S. and Canada on May 14, and in the U.K. on May 21.



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movie buzz | trailers
  • Kenny

    Hmmm… well, I don’t need to see the movie now, as the entire story was in the trailer.
    In saying that, it looks a LOT less offensive than almost everything else with the word “romantic” in the genre title that’s come out recently.
    I don’t think I’d mind terribly much if I had to see this.

  • RyanT

    I’d see it just for the actors involve really. I mean not sure I’ll trek to the theaters to see it, but most definitely it’ll be on my Netflix queue.

  • Isobel

    There’s one thing that I like about this trailer – the love story also involves older people in a romantic storyline (not an old, comfortable, married storyline, but a ‘true love’ type storyline). That’s a good thing, I think – so often films seem to think that love is only something that happens to young beautiful people, not old grey haired (although still beautiful) people with grandchildren.

  • Kate

    Did the person who cut this trailer aim to squeeze the entire movie into two and a half minutes? The vast majority of movies are predictable, but this one goes so far as to explicitly show both the reunion of the older couple and the reunion (at the wedding, no less) of the younger one. The hell?

  • AlsoKT

    First of all, I knew that Taylor Swift song was going to pop up. Second, I yelled at the screen, “No! Don’t leave Gael for the blonde English twerp, you idiot!” and my dog thought I was yelling at her. That’s right, trailer, you made a puppy sad.

    And third, why the hell are Romeo and Juliet still being used as a metaphor for True Love? 90% of high school students study that play. It is a cautionary tale. Did everybody but me just have exceptionally lazy English teachers?

    Oh, and fourth? Yeah, yeah, of course the mysterious Lorenzo has a vineyard. And is all, “I’m on a horse.” Of fucking course.

    (Cynical today? Yes, thank you.)

  • MaryAnn

    Yeah, but is Lorenzo backwards on a horse? Does he have tickets for that thing she loves? I doubt it.

  • And third, why the hell are Romeo and Juliet still being used as a metaphor for True Love?

    For the same reason people often use Wuthering Heights and Anna Karenina for the same reason. For some strange reason, people have a time for “romantic stories” in which the couple is either hopelessly dysfunctional or at best more dysfunctional than most of their audience.

    Then again we live in a society in which a lot of people thought Nine and a Half Weeks and Basic Instinct were sexy and still more considered “Every Breath You Take” to be one of the more romantic songs ever written.

    No wonder Bronx Cheer never got greenlighted…

  • For some strange reason, people have a time for “romantic stories” in which the couple is either hopelessly dysfunctional or at best more dysfunctional than most of their audience.

    Arrgh!

    For some strange reason, people have a thing for “romantic stories” in which the couple is either hopelessly dysfunctional or at best more dysfunctional than most of their audience.

  • Nathan

    For some strange reason, people have a thing for “romantic stories” in which the couple is either hopelessly dysfunctional or at best more dysfunctional than most of their audience.

    I don’t think it’s that hard to understand, really. It makes people feel better about their own love lives.

  • Isobel

    Is Romeo & Juliet one of Shakespeare’s plays that is always on the high school syllabus in the US? I don’t think it is in the UK, we did Twelfth Night and The Tempest for the comedies, and King Lear and Macbeth for the tragedies. I did an English Literature degree, but didn’t do much Shakespeare (apart from a semester on the comedies) as I was concentrating on Middle English.

    I think dysfunctional ‘love’ stories have a power of over people because we’ve been imbued with the idea that love changes everything. You can change a man if you love him enough, your life can change if you find the right person to love etc etc etc. We know it doesn’t actually work like this, having done the actual loving-people-in-real-life thing, but there’s still the lure of the big shebang destiny fantasy and I’ll admit that (even though I know it’s rubbish) it’s still got a kind of pull for me. Although having said that, I would never have said Wuthering Heights or Nine and a Half Weeks were ‘romantic’. Crap like Twilight doesn’t strike me as romantic, more a manual on how to stalk and emotionally subjugate someone.

    Romeo & Juliet, on the other hand, cautionary tale though it may be, does a great job of playing on all your teenaged ideals which is why I think it’s seen as a great romance. Things have changed since the 1600s, the ‘teenager’ exists as an idea when it didn’t then, and the whole idea of teenage rebellion and illicit love affairs is part of your psyche when you’re 15 or 16, as far as I remember.

  • AlsoKT

    Is Romeo & Juliet one of Shakespeare’s plays that is always on the high school syllabus in the US?

    Actually, I don’t know – I’m in Canada. It’s very popular in high schools here, but fair enough. That was a wild exaggeration. It still makes me grind my teeth when I hear people compare themselves to R&J like it’s a good thing.

    The take home message I got from that play – actually, there were two: 1) blanket family feuds are a bad idea and 2) deciding the person you met at that party that one time is your true love for all eternity and you’re willing to kill yourself and others over them is… unhealthy. Or, more broadly, dedicating yourself to something/one on little information will often end up hurting you.

  • JasonT

    Is Lorenzo the “Most Interesting Man in the World” guy? It sure looked like him. That would rock.

  • Pathlight

    I am the only one who has noticed that the film includes Vanessa Redgrave. I repeat Vanessa Redgrave. She is one of the greatest actresses (stage, TV and Screen) of her generation. Her family is an acting dynasty. She can act circles around most actors working today. I can’t believe the degree to which she has to make her self smaller to be in this film.

    I guess we’re done making films for adults with seasoned acting professionals (I point mostly to women) who get to flex their acting muscles. Maybe this is better than not seeing her at all but not by much. BTW-She looks beautiful.

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