Just another evening………..

letters to Juliet - Vanessa Redgrave & Amanda ...

Image by WorthingTheatres via Flickr

So WHY did I do it; WHY did I waste 2 hours of my life sitting in a darkened cinema (The Varsity cinema in the ManuLife Centre – great coffee bar area with a nod to selling a couple of proprietary alcoholic drinks brands), when outside, Toronto was having the best weather yet. I’m talking about ”Letter to Juliet” set in Tuscany, and featuring Amanda Seyfried, Vanessa Redgrave, and introducing some toffee nosed, so called Brit (I think), who, vaguely Heath Ledgerish delivered the worst lines of the entire film. His upper crust, clipped British (supposedly) accent; his clichéd self satisfied, entitled posturing was bum-clenchingly embarrassing to watch. especially as a fellow countrywoman. I sat there imagining that this sort if misrepresentation is the standard by which the rest of the world will judge all Brits; Excellent! it’s hard enough sticking out like a sore thumb without stereotypes to shoot down. – guess I’m not a fan.

Where was I, oh yeah, the film – what a pile of pooh – no really; incredibly contrived. I seem to remember that I have been beguiled before by a film set In Tuscany: “Under a Tuscan Sun”, with the gorgeous – and worthy of better – Diane Lane. Although as Christopher Plummer, (Von Trapp in the original Julie Andrews “Sound of Music” shown every Christmas throughout the 1970’s and 80’s on a television near you) said in a recent interview, at his age two criteria influence his choice of film; location and money and that even if it was an appalling script but set in Italy, he would still do it!!! It’s that Location thing again

Whilst I’m here, I’d like to pause a while and get the following off my chest:
Vanessa Redgrave – are we talking a Christopher Plummer location thing, Firstly you are led to believe from the various numbers thrown around during the film that she is 65 – cough – she’s actually 73. It’s true to say that whatever her age she did look very pretty, though a tadge doddery and bewildered throughout. Draped head to foot in silk and linen, she floated around in a sea of general vagueness. Oh and just for fun, lets try to work out why the producer thought it would be a great idea for this 65/73 year old woman to have her nipples showing loud and proud through her silk top in one scene. I was gobsmacked and missed all the dialogue (so not much then) How did one of our acting royalty end up in a film requiring no acting skills whatsoever – oh yeah LOCATION; there appears to be a theme here

Having spent so many summers in Europe, and Tuscany in particular, I just had to get my fix of glorious Tuscan landscapes, I don’t care whether they used all sorts of filters to shoot the scenes; in my opinion you cannot take a bad picture amidst the beautiful rolling vineyards, ochre fields cedars and wonderful farmhouse villas. AND I have to tell you if you haven’t been lucky enough to visit, the light really does move through the whole spectrum of mauve and blue shades as the day goes on. And to make matters more nostalgically worse for me the film does a fly-past of Sienna, my favorite Tuscan city; sigh.
Okay I’ve answered my own question Why? – it was the Location thing again

Which brings me on to Amanda Seyfried (big break Mama Mia) she is one of the new breed of actresses who appears to be in everything and its cat at the moment: “Letter to Juliet”; “Dear John” and “Chloe”. “Letter to Juliet” and “Dear John” were (again only in my opinion) a soppy pile of pooh (can pooh be soppy -don’t go there), but “Chloe”, which I saw a couple of weeks ago, was a complete other ballgame.

Set (as you may know) in and around the downtown core of Toronto (Yorkville/Rivoli/Café Diplomatico/The Windsor Arms/Royal Conservatory) I went to see it because I had friends over from the UK and thought it would be nice for them to be in Toronto and see a snow-bound Toronto on-screen. See, there’s that Location thing again.
Glad I went with girlfriends and not my husband as there were a lot of excrutiating leg-crossing moments especially towards the end of the film; we’re talking graphic girl on girl action, obsession verging on Glen Close/bunny boiler moments all wrapped up in the watery winter light and dark bleakness that is Toronto in the winter. The movie began by setting up Amanda Seyfried’s Chloe character, and then focused on the talented Julianne Moore in her sartorial best – she really is staggeringly “fit” – looking increasingly anxious and strained ( with reason) as the film went on. Another Ronnie Corbett aside here – see Blog 1 – I did wonder why it is that in the winter I cannot step out of the house in anything but flat boots looking like Scott of the Antarctic, yet she managed to run along our icy winter pavements wearing 4’ heels and stay upright!!!

Back on subject – oh Amanda Seyfried, what a difference from the other films mentioned above – so she can act after all; switching to and from irresistible affable girl next door, to an unimpassioned cold mono-toned drone, graphically reporting her various liaisons with Liam Neeson. An obsessed dangerous damaged creature with the face of an angel. She alone was responsible for the sinister thread running through the entire film – in my humble opinion

So, got all that off my chest.
As it was till only 6pm when I burst out of the darkness (on so many levels) and into the sunshine, there was still a good couple of hours of sunshine left so I sat on the patio of the ubiquitous “Second Cup”, basking for a while and scanning the newspaper, and then met my husband for supper at the “Jolly Miller” (just south of Shepherd on Yonge), expensive (I think) but just up the road from us and with a large expanse of graduated outdoor deck seating. Service is always willing, extra courteous but a smidge slow (last night anyway), the food is consistently good, and they are very willing to concoct your cocktail of choice for you.
By way of background, I am very new to the whole alcohol thing, having steered off it throughout my life (blame it upon having been exposed from a very young age to my French family and their 24/7 drinking habits; worked well for them but not for me so I didn’t really drink at all (running the gamut of teenage and early adult ridicule) till I discovered cocktails shortly after my arrival in Toronto. God, have I missed out or what? So, you will see MANY references to cocktails in this blog. I’d just like to point out that I am not an alcoholic, more a born again drinker, with the over zealousness of the newly converted……..
Back to the Jolly Miller and their cocktail prowess – if you haven’t already dropped off – I decided to have a Raspberry Mojito so I could carry myself off to the distant place in my mind that is Cuba. I gotta say, I think the Mojito was simply shown a picture of a raspberry, it was anemic in colour with a few raspberry drupelets (yes drupelets) thrown in for show; and half a mint plant STUFFED into the glass – no actually it was served rather pretentiously in a jam jar style glass – shan’t do that again.

Over and out for now


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