"Letters to Juliet"
Of all the comments my wife has ever made about me during our marriage -- which will be exactly 23 years tomorrow, by the way -- my favorite was when she remarked to some friends a few years ago that she wasn't quite sure what to make of a husband who loved Dante -- and "Calvin & Hobbes." She obviously had a point, and it is surely one of the more amusing paradoxes of my life that I read almost exclusively for information and intellectual stimulation, but entertain myself in other ways with assorted fluff. For instance, I love James Bond movies and regularly watch television fare such as "The Bachelor," even while freely admitting that the program is as dopey as a midsummer's day is long. There are, of course, a few exceptions to the general rule. For instance, one of my favorite movies of all time is "Judgment at Nuremberg," which has the distinction of being one of the very few films I have ever seen that has actually made me think. (Another is "Breaker Morant.") All of the foregoing should be taken into account as you read what follows.
One of my regular Friday-night rituals is to chauffeur Vanessa and one or more of her friends to the Chandler mall. Sometimes they just want to hang out for a few hours, and sometimes they go to a movie. For my part, I usually just hang out at Barnes & Noble until the mall closes, and then I take them all home. Last night was pretty typical, except that instead of spending three hours browsing around in the bookstore, I decided to go see "Letters to Juliet," which I had seen featured in recent TV ads and thought I might like.
My hunch proved correct, although anyone expecting an intellectual feast is certain to be disappointed by this film. But it incorporated a long list of things that I love: Italy, overtones of Shakespeare, romance, humor, and even the barest hint of Dante, although he is never mentioned in the film and one must be more than casually familiar with the Divine Comedy in order to understand why I include that last item in the list. (I wish the movie had also included some dancing, but one obviously can't have everything.) The plot is about as predictable as a sunrise or a Joe Biden gaffe, and most viewers will probably figure out its general thread in the first 15 minutes or so. (I recently saw "Leap Year," which I also enjoyed, and "Letters to Juliet" is cut from the same piece of cloth, so to speak.)
I won't discuss here the plot or the characters, which, as I have already noted, are predictable enough anyway. "Letters to Juliet" is, pure and simple, a chick flick, and light fare as far as movies go. But there's nothing wrong with that, and in my case, it was a perfect way to spend this particular Friday evening. I, for one, thought it was delightful. Vanessa and her friend went to see another movie at the same theater complex, and I told them afterward that I wouldn't mind seeing "Letters" again, including with them if they were interested. This one will not be an Oscar contender, but if it hits the spot in other ways, who really cares?
A link to the movie's official site, which includes the trailer, may be found here. I noted above that there is no dancing in this film, but perhaps I should qualify that by mentioning that certain parts of it might make one want to grab a partner right there on the spot. Its soundtrack includes the Taylor Swift hit, "Love Story," a perfect song for the Arizona two-step -- which, incidentally, happens to be the only country dance I know.