First Cow – Review

Rating: 12A
Cast: John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, Ewen Bremner, Scott Shepherd and Gary Farmer
Directed by Kelly Reichardt
Written by Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Raymond (Original Novel)
Length: 122mins

‘First Cow’ tells the story of two men trying their best to get through the hardships of everyday American life in the early 1800’s. One a chef and the other a Chinese immigrant looking for any opportunity of wealth, their misfortune turns when they begin to run a successful bakery trade at the local market, which is hindered only by their dependency on the stolen milk of local landowners’ prized cow. Directed by seasoned indie filmmaker Kelly Reichardt, there’s a charm to ‘First Cow’ which is unlike anything else I’ve seen on the big screen recently.

Completely unrecognisable in his role as ‘Cookie’, when compared to the rest of his filmography, John Magaro brilliantly fulfils the role of the unassuming chef who simply wishes to get by in the world. His own anxieties towards the threat those around him pose, as well as the questionable ethics which his and Lee’s bakery trade are grounded in are reflected in the feelings of the audience, creating a character who we feel pride for when triumphant, and empathy towards when defeated. Without a great amount of dialogue, Magaro provides a powerful physical performance to embody the role of ‘Cookie’ brilliantly, showing his emotions rather than telling.

Toby Jones is also not one to be forgotten, and although his filmography boasts roles in some of the largest franchises ever put to screen, he’s still able to disappear into a character, completely making it his own. The first appearance of Jones as the region’s landowner is contradictory to his own stature, conveying power and status simply through the deliverance of his dialogue and psychical composure. The relationship between the Chief Factor and the two younger men is an essential element of the narrative, and through the performances of these three exciting actors a great amount of tension and uncertainty is created.

A visually stunning film which utilises the natural landscape of the early-American settlements to its advantage, there isn’t a single aspect of ‘First Cow’s’ cinematography I could think to critique. An attention to the most minute, or even irrelevant details only help to further invest the audience in the world of the film, and by the time the credits roll, the cinematography and setting have created a portrayal of a location so vivid I felt as if I’d be able to walk through it myself, pointing out key landmarks as I went.

Now that it’s finally been released in UK cinemas I can’t recommend ‘First Cow’ enough. The story and visuals both definitely benefit from a focused viewing, so there’s no better place to give it a watch than your local cinema. An escape into the past and the natural beauty found amongst such early settlements, ‘First Cow’ is the perfect film for anyone looking to get away from it all for a few hours and lose themselves in a story of brotherhood and hope.

A Quiet Place Part II – Review

Rating: 15
Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe and Cillian Murphy
Directed and Written by John Krasinski
Length: 97mins

Looking back on what made John Krasinski’s debut film so great, it’s easy to highlight the tension built through the lack of sound, the ambiguity of the monsters appearance, and the way in which ordinary people would hide from such things. Going into the second film in any series it can be difficult to provide an exciting new story whilst once again capturing what made the original so great, but the new ‘A Quiet Place’ film does it brilliantly. 

Answering many questions audiences may have had about the beginnings of such an apocalypse, we begin the film with a prologue which takes us all the way back to ‘Day 1’. The dramatic opening sets the tone for the rest of the film, with tension hidden within every moment of silence, and horrors around every corner. By starting the film in such a way, Krasinski builds the world of ‘A Quiet Place’ up even further, effectively drawing the audience in more and more, and familiarising us with how many attempted to survive whilst still leaving enough ambiguity for the audience to fantasise about their own role in such a hypothetical world. 

Visually, the film continues to be just as imaginative with it’s cinematography as the first. Earlier sequences lend themselves more to the adventure side of things, with stunning landscapes contrasting the devastation caused by the monsters, beautifully capturing a world caught in disarray. Moments of tension are also benefited by a careful consideration of how best to show the action, with alternating angles and camera placements working to emphasise the threat posed by the creatures. Whilst not important to the story, this consideration for colour and aesthetic work to make ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ more than just another horror.

From a narrative perspective, the film remains fairly simple, yet tells its story well. Utilising parallelism and recurring ideas to heighten moments of emotion and tension, we begin to care a greater amount for the characters we’re watching. Cillian Murphy also makes a great addition to the weary and downtrodden cast who populate the film, bringing exciting storylines and perspectives of his own which lead to a further exploration into the apocalyptic landscape.

Of course, I’d do well to review such a film and not comment on the sound design. Paying attention to every minute detail, you can’t help but hold your breath anytime a twig snaps or a door closes too hard. The silence of it all draws you to the edge of your seat, only to make you jump even further back anytime a loud bang or an unexpected cry is let out. Paced precisely throughout the film, there are some great jump-scare moments, but they also tie in well with the tension of the scene and don’t ever become overused or predictable.

‘A Quiet Place Part II’ is one you should definitely give a watch if you were a fan of the first film, building on everything established in the original, whilst also bringing some great new ideas and characters to the table. Whilst popcorn might not be the best snack to go for on your way into the theatre, I’d definitely recommend seeing this film on the biggest screen you can.

Cruella – Review

Rating: 12A
Cast: Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, Paul Walter Hauser and Mark Strong
Directed by Craig Gillespie
Written by Aline Brosh McKenna, Steve Zissis, Dana Fox, Tony McNamara and Kelly Marcel
Length: 134mins

‘Cruella’ marks an important change in Disney releases, with the live action prequel of a beloved animated family favourite becoming something more darker and grown up than anything the studio has released in recent years. Led by Emma Stone as the titular character, the film follows the backstory of the soon-to-be villain, and explores in detail the events which led her to become the frightening villain who reigns over ‘101 Dalmatians’. 

One of the most visibly intriguing elements of ‘Cruella’ is the fashion design. Set in 1970’s London, and drawing from designers of the time such as punk icon Vivienne Westwood, the importance of clothing within the narrative is reinforced greatly by the detailed and extravagant outfits adorned by each character – with the two leading ladies in particular boasting some of the most daring designs. Through its use of costume, ’Cruella’ is able to show a visual tension within the story which reflects the conflict between Cruella and the Baroness.

It can’t be denied that the film makes great use of the funk, punk and classic rock tracks which litter the soundtrack, with many of these being incorporated during exciting and captivating montages. Particular sequences such as heists being pulled off throughout the middle act benefit greatly not only from the use of music, but also the precise and informative editing which leaves no plot point underdeveloped. With a runtime of 134 minutes, this frequent use of montage also helps to keep the film from feeling uninteresting at any points – a great thing to boast as a Summer blockbuster aimed towards families and young teens. However, with this rise in soundtrack-reliant and overly montage-dependent films which seems to have suddenly appeared throughout Hollywood in recent years – perhaps being traced back to the nostalgic sounds of 2013’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ – it’s hard not to wonder whether these large studios may be catering towards the shortened attention spans of modern audiences, with moments of sincerity being cut short and extremely calculated, as a way to make the next montage only feel even more exciting. It’s undeniable that ‘Cruella’ is a fun film, but if a greater number of blockbusters in recent years follow in it’s footsteps, audiences may only become greater dependent on this unrelentingly high tempo style of filmmaking.

As the two lead characters, Stone and Thompson face off in a battle to outperform one another. Although occasionally limited by the clearly 12A script, the drama and tension between the two is one of the greatest parts of ‘Cruella’, and any moment where they share the screen is a moment of excitement and intrigue, not often seen in modern blockbusters. Joel Fry and Paul Walter Hauser also put in some great performances as Estella’s partners-in-crime, playing off one another brilliantly, as well as providing a strong contrast to the fierce persona of Cruella. 

As far as Summer blockbusters go, you couldn’t ask for too much from ‘Cruella’. It’s fun, exciting, sounds great, looks great, and best of all, keeps you engaged throughout it’s slightly lengthy runtime. With cinemas now open and in full swing, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy a trip out.

Minari – Review

Rating: 12A Cast: Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan Kim, Noel Cho and Yuh-Jung Youn. Directed by Lee Isaac Chung Written by Lee Isaac Chung Length: 115mins

Minari is a wonderfully absorbing and moving family drama. Writer-director Lee Isaac Chung based it loosely on his childhood growing up on a farm in Arkansas in the 1980s. It’s a basic story, not especially dramatic or complicated, but it pulls it’s audiences into the vulnerabilities and intricacies of family life while focussing mainly on the young son, David, and his Grandmother. Minari is infused with a really warm sentimentality and, while Chung has explained that it is a fictionalised account of his rural childhood, he has managed to create a real sense of authenticity from start to finish.

From the opening shot Minari adopts the visuals of a well-loved classic, it’s difficult to explain other than it feels familiar. Perhaps this is an element that Chung fought for, that familial essence of a regular family experiencing life. The story itself explores the issues faced while balancing medical concerns, family tensions and the driving desire to establish a successful family farm. One component that was really interesting to me is that this focus on the relational journey of the family was the key narrative in a story that on paper could have delved into a ‘fish out of water’ immigration story. The film makers haven’t attempted to speak to the full experience of being a Korean in America and racism, when encountered in the film, is only communicated by an unthinking child; an interaction that moves swiftly into a friendship. I’m pleased that the topic of racism wasn’t avoided completely, it’s vaguely present, but isn’t the driving force of the story and invites the audience to understand that immigrants experience other issues as well as racism in their day to day lives.

While the whole cast presented really strong performances you have to mention Yuh-Jung Youn as Grandma and Alan Kim as David. A lot of the story focusses around the relationship between the two and they create something so pure. There’s nothing stereotypical about their character choices and it allows the audience to feel a real sense of inclusion as their story develops. Something that was very refreshing was that Chung didn’t feel the need to increase the drama unnecessarily, he managed to create a really lovely ‘flow’ that was maintained by authentic characters.

Minari is really about the universal dynamics of a family struggling to survive and daring to want to thrive. Of what happens to men, to fathers, when they feel they have to succeed at the expense of everything else, including the very family they’re claiming to do it for. But also about roots: how they’re sunk and can be torn out if not tended to. The gentle, quietly rhythmic pace could mistakenly be called a lack of dynamism, but actually there’s a boldness and confidence in the complete lack of emotional and dramatic manipulation. Unfortunately due to the events of 2020 I fear that the opportunity to watch this film is significantly limited, but I implore you, if you get the opportunity to watch it on the big screen, please do. It’s really lovely work and deserves to be seen by the masses. 

Sound of Metal – Review

Rating: 15
Cast: Riz Ahmed, Olivia Cooke, Paul Raci, Lauren Ridloff and Mathieu Amalric
Directed by Darius Marder
Written by Derek Cianfrance, Darius Marder and Abraham Marder
Length: 121mins

A heavy metal drummer in a band consisting solely of himself and his girlfriend, Ruben’s life is completely dedicated to the music that he makes. As a result, when his hearing is suddenly lost, he soon begins to spiral into an anxious and unfamiliar world which threatens to lead him back into the destructive habits of his past.

‘Sound of Metal’ balances the two juxtaposing ideas of extreme noise and utter silence perfectly. For Ruben, whose life until this point has been deeply rooted in making noise – whether that be as a musician or as someone who uses destruction as a means to release emotion – the idea of hearing nothing is overwhelming. His actions as a result show him at his most honest, and the audience is able to become deeply engaged with this portrayal of emotion. Furthermore, the filmmakers utilise some incredible sound design to provide the audience an insight into what such a transition feels like. Sudden absences of sound and a continuous ringing provide a clear perspective on the experiences of Ruben, and the debilitating extent of his condition.

Visually, ‘Sound of Metal’ is a striking film which utilises the beauty of natural landscapes to reflect on Ruben’s desire to return to normality. His ability to see these areas of the world with such clarity, and yet be almost entirely unable to engage with them audibly reinforces this idea of frustration and loss. Through the use of cinematography and locations, we can begin to understand how Ruben is able to develop, and change his perspective on his own physical state from one of loathing, to one of acceptance.

When it comes to performance, it’s undeniable that both Riz Ahmed and Olivia Cooke are key reasons for this film’s success. Their portrayal of a young couple who’ve managed to find solace in one another and escape the cruelty of the outside world is apparent from the first moment they share the screen, and it’s this connection which provides such a great amount of drama within ‘Sound of Metal’. The impact which Ruben’s sudden change in lifestyle has on their relationship is massive, and seeks to test the very thing which brought them together – a love of music.

Now that cinemas are opening, I cannot recommend ‘Sound of Metal’ enough. To see it on the big screen will be an incredible experience already, but to go after such a long period without films being shown will only make it even better. Head down to your local cinema, buy yourself a ticket for this great film and have a lovely evening out.

Without Remorse – review

Rating: 15 Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Jodie Turner-Smith, Jamie Bell and Guy Pearce Directed by Stefano Sollima Written by Taylor Sheridan, Will Staples and Tom Clancy (novel) Length: 109mins

Without Remorse tells the story of an elite Navy SEAL who uncovers an international conspiracy while trying to avenge the murder of his pregnant wife. This film is the origin story of Tom Clancy hero John Clark (Jordan), a popular character in the well known Jack Ryan universe. Torn between personal honour and loyalty to his country, Kelly targets his enemies ‘without remorse’ with hopes to avert disaster and reveal the powerful foggers behind the conspiracy. 

Immediately we are presented with a very predictable set up, you know whats coming and they take so long to do it. We start watching a questionable mission, we progress to 3 months later where several of the team are taken out and hero avoids death while his pregnant wife is killed in her sleep. This all happens within the first half hour and tells us exactly whats the IMDB bio or film description. It’s quite strange in a film of this nature to present such a long set up. Half way through there’s a lot of talking and very little action which is what most of the typical audiences of this genre would be watching for.

The prolonged set up may well be due to the fact that this is an origin story and so it’s got potential to become a franchise but this film is certainly at risk in losing audiences before any of the real action happens. In a lot of films that spend time on set up we often get some more in depth character work however in ‘Without Remorse’ they opt to just explain a lot…it doesn’t really fit into it’s genre and can come across a little boring. We spend a lot of time in nothingness; rolling around on the floor, in a hospital bed, under water etc…the music helps to build tension but I found that the further into the film we got the less patience I had for the random details that didn’t help progress the plot. It felt a bit sloppy and was frustrating. 

The actors are the best thing about this film, Michael B. Jordan is solid as you would expect, creating a likeable hero with a vendetta. He manages to create a nice balance between a kick-ass SEAL and a heartbroken husband in a situation that could have easily tipped either way. Jodie Turner-Smith plays a reliable team mate on the battle field, an engaging character who holds a high enough rank to be a decision maker as well as boots on the ground, but unfortunately she is given very little of interest to work with. Jamie Bell plays arguably the most interesting character, the audience is tasked with trying to work out which ‘side’ he’s on and Bell brings a wonderful authenticity to the role. 

Without Remorse had the potential to be a solid action film, the Jack Ryan universe has a decent reputation and the names in the film are enough to attract viewers but for some reason it just lacked. The story isn’t particularly original or interesting, and there’s a whole of lot of talking. Honestly, I would give it a miss. There are so many other good action films to choose from and this just doesn’t hit the mark. 

Nomadland – Review

Rating: 12A
Cast: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Swankie, Gay DeForest
Directed by Chloé Zhao
Written by Chloé Zhao
Length: 108mins

Caught halfway between some of America’s most beautiful landscapes and the oppressive trappings of the modern workplace, Chloé Zhao’s ‘Nomadland’ reflects on what is truly important in our lives, and seeks to find an answer for how we can put these things first. For Fern (McDormand), a woman in her sixties who lost a great amount to the recent recession, the answer lies in her van. Addicted to the freedom which her new lifestyle as a Nomad provides, she seeks to find a balance between the necessary nature of employment, her relationship with her own family, and the opportunity to escape it all. 

Employing real Nomads to act in the film, Zhao’s work feels as natural as ever. ‘Nomadland’ is a work of fiction, and yet you can feel the sincerity and honesty that each character brings to the screen, which, combined with an incredible performance from Frances McDormand, creates a story you can’t help but believe in. Despite many of the places Fern travels between being extremely far apart, a lot of the characters cross paths multiple times, reiterating this idea that they’re meant to be a part of one another’s lives, and that the life of a Nomad is not as isolating or lonely as audiences may at first believe.

If there’s one thing that Chloé Zhao is known for, it’s her ability to capture the Earth at its most beautiful. ‘Nomadland’ is defined by its breathtaking skylines and hubristic landscapes, creating a sense of both importance and inconsequentiality in the characters’ lives. Compared to the beauty of these natural occurrences, the actions of Fern and those in her life are entirely unimportant, and yet this is what drives them to live their life in whichever way they choose. As a result, the presence of the large corporations which Fern has to work for, such as Amazon, seem powerless in comparison. Their status as an international conglomerate is suddenly reduced when compared to the care which the film provides for such expansive natural features, and emphasises the idea that no one should have to work under inhumane conditions just to live. Although not explicit in it’s beliefs, ‘Nomadland’ is very clearly a film which disagrees with the power large businesses are provided in the modern day, and utilises visual imagery to brilliantly convey such an ethos.

Arguably one of the greatest actresses working today, Frances McDormand’s performance as Fern is both crackling with energy and defined by a weariness for the state of the world she’s found herself in. Her only freedom is in the escape from everything which modern society stands for, and her expression clearly reflects this whenever she’s able to get away for a little while longer. The patience the camera is provided when slowly following Fern through the Nomad’s camp is significantly longer than any shots found in urbanised areas, and as a result, the combination of performance and cinematography works brilliantly to emphasise the feeling of escape experienced by the lead character, and the audience too.

All in all, ‘Nomadland’ is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and important films released so far this year. As soon as cinemas open I look forward to watching it on the big screen, and if you haven’t seen it yet, I definitely recommend getting yourself a ticket booked. Chloé Zhao has already achieved more than any filmmaker could dream of, and still with a wide array of projects in the near future, I can’t wait to see what the next few years bring for her.

The Other Boleyn Girl – Review

Rating: 12a Cast: Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, Jim Sturgess, Mark Rylance and Kristin Scott Thomas Directed by Justin Chadwick  Written by Peter Morgan (screenplay) and Philippa Gregory (novel) Length: 115mins

In Justin Chadwick’s debut feature film, The Other Boleyn Girl, we jump back in time to a pivotal moment in English history and land in the midst of one of the most notorious monarchs, King Henry VIII. Straight off the bat it’s important to recognise that artistic licence is applied and that some of the Historical facts are debated, but it’s an opportunity to experience an interpretation of one of the Queen famous for her demise.

The plot follows the Boleyn siblings, primarily the two sisters Anne and Mary as they reach adulthood and have set sights set on potential husbands. Through a bit of family meddling and taking advantage of issues with the Kings marriage, the King meets both girls and while initially favouring Anne, becomes captivated with the ‘other Boleyn girl’, who is newly married. The Boleyn’s are summoned to court and thus begins the competition for the Kings attention. It’s not a particularly surprising storyline as Anne Boleyn’s fate is one of the memorable in Royal history, but it’s an interesting take to consider other members of the family. 

From start to finish this film is full of incredible talent. In playing the quarrelsome siblings, Portman and Johansson conjure admirable performances, working as best they can with the dialogue and situations they’re afforded. Portman creates a scheming and flirtatious Anne while keeping the hot headed reactions of a young, inexperienced woman while Johansson leans more to a sweet, innocent sister. Choices that are reactionary to the dialogue, no doubt, and clearly separate the sisters, however there is a slight risk of the characters feeling a bit shallow. It’s easy to criticise these more obvious choices, but there is also plenty to defend. The film is long, the story and it’s characters are very famous and so you could certainly argue that in exploring the focal characters in more depth could mess up the through line of the story and therefore extend the film and throw it off balance. I personally think they made the right decisions within characterisation and the cast were perfect for what they needed. 

Unfortunately, due to the sheer number of incredible actors, there isn’t time to truly analyse all of the performances, but the casting department did a phenomenal job and the outcome was brilliant. 

Aesthetically, the film looks great; the grand settings, beautiful costumes and intricate detail within hair and make up really help transport the audience into a different time and allows the story to be told without a second thought. 

This movie stirs me in an unusual way. It’s deeply sad to see a family torn apart and as we know the ending is all but happy. It’s an entertaining watch, and in reminding us of elements of History it’s helpful to see how society has progressed and possibly, how it hasn’t. I would recommend watching this film, but it’s not perfect and as with every Historical film it’s worth checking the facts. 

Promising Young Woman – Review

Rating: 15
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge and Laverne Cox
Directed by Emerald Fennell
Written by Emerald Fennell
Length: 114mins

A fantastical, yet honest depiction of the fallout from a young woman’s past, ‘Promising Young Woman’ tells the story of Cassandra, a café worker and ex-medical student who looks to take revenge on the predatory men who she encounters on nights out. A debut feature from actress and ‘Killing Eve’ showrunner Emerald Fennell, the film has garnered a great amount of attention from critics and audiences alike.

Firstly, Carey Mulligan’s performance in this film is brilliant, as she brings an intensity which both drives the narrative forward, and hints at something more painful hidden beneath. Within the film itself, her character is constantly putting on a performance for others, and Mulligan shows she is capable of such a range by creating convincing and contrasting changes to her role as Cassandra. Mulligan is the reason why many people will have been drawn to ‘Promising Young Woman’, and once again doesn’t disappoint.

Thematically, the film deals with some heavy ideas surrounding rape, and believing those who have experienced such trauma. There are already a number of films which tackle such a topic, but I imagine in the years to come a great many more will appear in the mainstream, with ‘Promising Young Woman’ showing itself as a step in the right direction for these stories. The film, however, does lean more towards the fantastical side of the way in which such confrontations may play out. It was often difficult to become immersed in a scene because of how one-sided the writing would feel in favour of Mulligan’s character, and whilst there is definitely a place in cinema for indulging in scenarios which are so favourable towards the victims, when it comes to telling a truthful recollection of such events, it must be acknowledged that rarely things play out so easily. This isn’t true of the whole film however, and the writing is at times both thought-provoking and measured, but there are a number of scenes in a short period of time which lack such a balance.

From a compositional standpoint, ‘Promising Young Woman’ doesn’t hold back from developing its exposition through sound. Moments of tension or danger are precisely shown through sudden crescendos in the score. Of course, such a technique is utilised by almost all films, but ‘Promising Young Woman’ in particular applies it to even the smallest moments of drama. Whilst this does mean that there’s a greater amount of tension within these moments, it can also mitigate the overall effect of the score when it comes to larger, and more dramatic scenes later on.

A well-made, if occasionally flawed film, ‘Promising Young Woman’ will hopefully be the beginning of more female-led movies which directly tackle themes of trauma and trust when it comes to sexual abuse. No matter who you are, I would recommend giving ‘Promising Young Woman’ a watch, even if it is just for the strength of Carey Mulligan’s performance.

Letters to Juliet – Review

Rating: PG Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Gael Garcia Bernal, Vanessa Redgrave and Christopher Egan. Directed by Gary Winick Written by Jose Rivera and Tim Sullivan Length: 105mins

Letters To Juliet tells the story of Sophie, a wanna be writer who takes a romantic trip to Italy with her somewhat distracted finance. While he seems to be more interested in sourcing ingredients for his New York restaurant than spending time with her, Sophie finds herself captivated by the local tradition of lovelorn women writing letters to Shakespeare’s Juliet and joins the team of women of whose job it is to write back to these unhappy souls.

When Sophie (Seyfried) finds a letter that is 50 years old, written by a young British girl about a Tuscan boy she met and fell in love with, she writes to the girl and soon Claire (Redgrave) and her grandson Charlie (Egan) arrive in Verona with the hopes of finding her long lost love, Lorenzo. The story is simple and extremely predictable but is connected with some truly beautiful shots of the Italian countryside. The warmth of the friendship between Sophie and Claire is really lovely and makes for a very easy romantic watch. Where a realist might suggest that Sophie help Claire check out the possible Lorenzo by using her phone, Letters to Juliet sends the three of them to visit the candidates in person, leading to a series of false leads and at last, of course, to the real Lorenzo Bartolini. 

This has a very specific audience, the simplicity and predictability of the plot is clearly for a young romanticist. Hoping that the sweet warmth as everything comes together will distract from problems that would almost certainly exist in reality. I remember watching this as a young teenager and thinking it was one of the best films i’d ever seen, but having re-watched it, it seems it just was  a very satisfying entertainment where very little goes wrong. While ‘nice’, it doesn’t have the depth to be considered amongst the best in it’s genre. The characters are broad, comforting stereotypes that are played well – particularly by Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave but it almost seems a waste to have talent such as theirs crawling through a particularly cheesy plot. 

Letters to Juliet is definitely lacking in substance, but the idea at the core is a story of love lost and reunited. While a bit of a soppy melodrama where the ending is predestined from the setup, it’s a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours, especially for a PG audience.