Yesterday 1 of my errands was having my winter tires exchanged for the summers. This is usually an errand I don’t like because it takes 2-3 hours and you’re usually stuck in the middle of nowhere. Yesterday, I decided to coincide it with a movie playing down the road, “Letters to Juliet” .
I’ve been looking forward to seeing this movie, I’m usually drawn to the action/fantasy genres, however I do like a good romantic movie and the trailers looked very interesting. It is also about Romeo and Juliet, how can you resist? It was a wonderful movie, staring an amazing cast with Amanda Seyfried, Gael Garcia Bernal, Christopher Egan and the amazing real life acting couple, Vanessa Redgrave and her husband Franco Nero. It was a Romeo and Juliet movie without the tragic ending, I think I’m safe to say I’m not giving much away by saying this, after all it is a romantic movie.
However, this movie made me wonder, why are we so drawn to Romeo and Juliet? On paper, they are 2 teenagers going against the wishes of their families, forbidden to see each other, giving into teenage hormones, that as we all know run ramped at that age. They run away, get married then end up in the biggest misunderstanding that there ever could be and end up killing themselves…..did I miss anything? Why are we SO attracted to this tragic love story? I know that I don’t want the ending to my love story to be swallowing poison or plunging a knife into my chest but I do love the story of Romeo and Juliet.
Is it the fact that he sees her across a crowed room and instantly falls in love? What girl doesn’t want that? Is that he’d do anything just to be with her? Even risking the raths of both of their families? Or is that they love each other so much that they can’t envision life without the other? I guess it’s the combination of all these elements that make this play resonate with people. So much so, that the actual play has lasted in its original form for well over 300 + years, not to mention that the concept has been updated and rewritten and has become the standard that all great romances are held to.
I remember as a teenager studying this play in Grade 9. Due to the fact that there were so many grade 9 english classes that year, all the teachers decided to show us the movie together. They herded us down to the “cafetorium” (half cafeteria half auditorium) to spend the 2 hours watching the tragic story unfold. When Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting came on the screen I think half of the girls fell in love with “Romeo” and all of us definitely wanted to be “Juliet” even though each and every one of us knew what the tragic ending would be.
This new movie isn’t a tragedy but it is about second chances and great love. It is shot in Verona where Romeo and Juliet “lived”. Italy is on my list of place to go, close to the top actually. I had never considered going to Verona but after seeing the beautiful depiction of this wonderful little city I’m going to have to add it to the list.
One has to wonder, if Romeo and Juliet had NOT died and had lived to a ripe old age growing old together, would their romance have lasted? Would Juliet’s Romeo have loved and cherished her til the day he died? Or would their love falter with the existence of every day living? Maybe THIS is why we all love Romeo and Juliet, they will forever be desperately in love, forsaking everything just to be in each others arms.
Whatever the reason, this play however cliché, is one of my favorites and will always be and I’m sure that the film, when released, will find its way to my collection.