Letters to Juliet
Sometimes your impression towards a film really depends on who you see it with and their attitude towards it. For example, I don't know that I ever had the chance (thank goodness haha!) to truly fall in love with Avatar when I saw it with my skeptical friend Shauny. She isn't too keen on sci-fi but was game to see the movie with me anyway (I love that about her, she'll see anything with me!) We both went along with the movie to a point, but when the alien sex scene happened we both kind of lost it. She snickered at the ridiculousness of the scene, and I was brought out of it too because of her reaction and thought to myself, "yeah...this is pretty ridiculous." Had I seen the movie with my Dad (who is obsessed with it now) I probably, at least initially, would have had different feelings on the movie. Though I'm still convinced that I would have felt some sort of backlash for it anyway as it became a cultural phenomenon and made SO much money when it was really only average (and completely derivative)...but that's another story...
But back to Letters to Juliet. This was a sweet little film, which my mom happened to adore, and her enthusiasm was contagious. My friend Anna had seen it a few weeks earlier and told me it was mediocre. If I had seen it with her, I might have had a similar impression. But seeing it with my mom, I saw it for what it was: just a sweet love story. Yes, it had some unbearably cheesy lines in it, and strictly followed the romantic formula that usually I get pretty tired of, but seeing it with her, I still liked it. This is because she saw more in it than just a fairy tale.
It's not wrong to be entertained by films like Letters to Juliet, but it's also very important to label it for what it is: entertainment. It's fun, sweet, and cute....but hardly real. In other words, I do think it's very important not to let stuff like this color your expectations of what love and relationships should be, but they are harmless and fun when you understand that fact. So while I don't like giving films like this too much weight, that doesn't mean the romantic side of me (yes, I have one...who knew?) doesn't enjoy seeing happy endings every now and then...even if they are totally far-fetched (but only if the film as a whole, is done right!!)
So why did we generally enjoy it? Well, My mom is all about looking deeper and analyzing things (probably where I get it from!) To her, what made the movie special was the relationships between all the characters (not just the romantic relationships, but the mother/daughter type bond between Vanessa Redgrave and Amanda Seyfried as well,) and the amount of chemistry they shared with their respective love interests. This led us to another interesting post-movie discussion about romantic chemistry in film. For me, chemistry can make an average film, above average. It has the power to make or break a film. As we discussed what we considered to be romantic comedy bombs we noticed the main factor always seemed to be a lack of chemistry.
Letters to Juliet is a pleasant little film which benefits from a likable cast and easy chemistry between the leads. It's harmless entertainment and the perfect movie to see with your mother.