Opening 19 Aug 2010
Writing credits: Jose Rivera, Tim Sullivan
Principal actors: Amanda Seyfried, Marcia DeBonis, Gael García Bernal, Christopher Egan, Vanessa Redgrave
While under the Tuscan sun a playful romantic tale is born from film director Gary Winick (Charlotte’s Web, 13 Going on 30), made for the silver screen, illustrating the human desire for true love to abound. The enchantment with Shakespeare’s account of Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting in Verona, Italy sets the stage for Winick’s modern-day love story that draws from the ideals of an ancient devotion, courage and the hope to believe the reality of true love.
The editor (Oliver Platt) of The New Yorker Magazine commends one of the company’s fact-finding associates, Sophie (Amanda Seyfried), for a specific job well done and offers his congratulations on her upcoming marriage and pre-wedding honeymoon to Italy. Sophie longs to be one of the magazine’s featured journalists but knows that she must have material significant for recognition. Sophie’s fiancé, Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal), is opening a new restaurant in New York and is consumed with its preparations but agrees to celebrate their life together on a romantic pre-honeymoon to Verona, Italy – the land of fine Italian dining and romance. Victor’s passion to hob-knob with Italy’s wealthy over their food and wine is overwhelming for Sophie. Therefore, she politely asks to be excused from his excursions to satisfy her desire to explore Italy’s city of Verona.
Sophie’s first visit is to the famous Verona Courtyard. A bronze statue of Shakespeare’s Juliet stands on the open tiled patio and shadowed by a picturesque rod iron balcony; possibly, a place Juliet once stood listening to her Romeo. Sophie is surprised to see the cobblestone wall underneath the balcony covered with notes and letters gingerly placed. At the end of the day, Sophie observes that a lady comes to grab the diverse hand-written papers and whisks them away, after tucking them into a large basket for safe keeping. Sophie is curious and follows the mail pied-piper down several narrow cobblestone streets ending at the office of the Secretaries of Juliet – the women who answer all of the letters posted on the wall. Sophie is amazed that so many people believe in an everlasting true love and returns to the wall the following day for more observation. She too writes a message to place on the sacred wall, and as she runs her hand softly over the stones trying to imagine the centuries of cries to Juliet about true love through the messages posted, she is shocked when a loose rock on the wall falls revealing a letter that was placed in its crevice fifty years earlier. Sophie quickly takes the letter to the Secretaries of Juliet, and they commission her to respond to the author.
Some days later, the author of the letter, Claire (Vanessa Redgrave), now elderly, stands before the secretaries inspired by Sophie’s correspondence and ready to find her Lorenzo (Franco Nero). She needs to seek his forgiveness for her rude behavior and her lack of courage to trust in the fate of true love, so long ago. Claire asks Sophie to accompany her along with her overprotective grandson, Charlie (Christopher Egan), on an ever perilous emotional journey. Sophie agrees to join them to document the journey after she receives Victor’s blessing to pursue her passion to follow a good story. Sophie is unaware of what the blessing will cost her in order to pursue a story of undying love needing to be told. (Karen Pecota)