Sophie decides to try her hand at writing back after she discovers a 50-year-old letter from Claire (Redgrave) to a left-in-waiting Lorenzo (Nero). Soon the dapper Charlie (Christopher Egan) shows up to find whomever wrote his grandmother Claire, as Claire has dragged him to Italy in search of her abandoned Lorenzo. Sophie sees this as her chance to write a story for The New Yorker and prove her skills to her boss and tags alongside Charlie and Claire in their search across Italy for the love of Claire’s life.
Anyone who can’t guess the outcome of this movie has never seen a rom-com before or simply just doesn’t care. But thankfully Winick, along with writers Jose Rivera and Tim Sullivan, has come up with an interesting enough plot, characters you don’t hate, an avoidance of pratfalls or overabundance of sloppy slapstick, and a reunion too long in the making. While it may not be one of the best romantic comedies to come out of Hollywood, it’s got such an innocent spirit about it and a cast filled with enough charm to carry things along.
Even the soundtrack is made up of more interesting choices than usual. Instead of cramming whatever’s popular with the tweens these days, it features mostly international versions of songs instantly familiar to American audiences, ultimately making it surprisingly very jarring when Taylor Swift’s love anthem “Love Story” pops up in the end where it feels very out of place and forced.
Had the film swapped the supporting cast (Redgrave and Nero) for the main characters, the filmmakers could have had something even more. Redgrave is fantastic and should have a vehicle of her own to carry after this. Yet there’s still enough here to keep the males in the audience from wanting to either bang their heads on the seat in front of them or make their female counterparts suffer through A Nightmare on Elm Street for revenge.