Sunday, October 24, 2010

Letters to Juliet

For most expats, sudden and unexpected bouts of homesickness are one of the hazards of living far from home. I usually realize I'm homesick when I call my Mom who is in Verona, my hometown, and she tells me that it's foggy and cold and my response is: "Really? Foggy and cold? Awww, I miss the fog."
It is therefore, with a feeling of great anticipation, that I go to see a movie that takes place in my city. In this case: Letters to Juliet. The reason I bring this up at all is because the other night a friend of mine told me how often she cries at sad movies and how I never cry at a sad movie. I mean, there are exceptions. The Bicycle Thief comes to mind. But most movies, no tears. I just can't do it. (In fact, suppressed sobs may be one of the causes of my gastric pain, but that's another blog post). Anyway, I suddenly recalled that I HAD almost cried at a recent movie, how could I forget, and that movie was Letters to Juliet. But not because it was sad, but because it was so bad. Perhaps, my expectations had been too high. I honestly feel that any First Year Film School student could have done a better job of portraying a love story in Verona. Not that there is much of the medieval city depicted anyway. Barring the few beautiful scenes there are and the wonderful Vanessa Redgrave, the rest of the movie was almost unwatchable. When the protagonist is driving from Verona to Tuscany to help find Redgrave's character's old flame, the background music is 'tarantella' (traditional music from Sicily not Verona). Seriously? (Note to any film makers out there: it would be great to see a movie that takes place in Italy that decides to not feature 'tarantella' music.) Any more stereotypes? Oh, how could I forget the ubiquitous Italian Mamma in the kitchen of the restaurant above Juliet's balcony (is there even a restaurant there?) insisting these random strangers drop everything and eat all of her food. Sure, that happens all the time. Yes, I know this is a movie (one basically with a very weak plot, relying solely on Italian countryside) but, when at the end of the movie, the boy realizes he's in love with the attractive ex-Mamma Mia actress (what's her name?), and looks for her all over the Tuscan farmhouse, the shot shows an ivy-colored balcony and I find myself hoping against hope: "Please don't be on the balcony, please don't be on the balcony." But of course she is. That's Hollywood. So much for a movie to keep the homesick doldrums at bay.
Maybe next time I'll just go watch a pasta commercial...

1 comment: