This has been quite a year so far for Amanda Seyfried to come into her own as today's young starlet. February's Dear John offered her a showcase for red-blooded passion, while March's Chloe gave her sultrier cues to work with. Now, with Letters to Juliet, she settles for being your usual romantic lead (well, without the ABBA songs this time), and in a less-than-demanding role, she gives an adequately doe-eyed performance. Fortunately for her, she gets to share screen time with Oscar-winning screen vet Vanessa Redgrave, from whom she could certainly learn how to sell heartache and headstrong ways with some warmth and nuance.
Seyfried plays Sophie, a fact-checker for the New Yorker ("yes, it's kind of like a detective," she explains from the start, but don't worry: both her character and the film will forget these skills and that salary in time for a pricey and inevitable climactic misunderstanding). Since her fiance, Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal), will be opening his new restaurant shortly after their wedding, they've opted to celebrate their "pre-honeymoon" in Italy beforehand. Of course, Victor gets caught up in wine auctions and all sorts of business-minded distractions, so Sophie is left to see the sights, including the legendary Verona balcony where Romeo is said to have romanced Juliet.