“True, I talk of dreams,
Which are the children of an idle brain,
Begot of nothing but vain fantasy…”
A few months ago I watched Letters To Juliet. I knew that it was a light romantic drama and that it was filmed almost entirely in Italy. I wasn’t expecting much from the film except some gorgeous cinematography and light entertainment.
The story is about a letter written to Shakespeare’s Juliet from the infamous play, Romeo and Juliet. The letter, written 50 years before the movie begins, was written by a British woman named Claire, who at the time of writing was yearning for her Italian boyfriend who she had abandoned. Sophie, the heroine of the movie finds the letter and being a curious writer type, begins to research and discover who wrote the letter.
This leads Sophie to the discovery that the mythical Juliet has secretaries who answer all of the letters written to her. Sophie speaks of her discovery with the secretaries and decides that she should answer Claire’s letter and give her encouragement.
Claire receives the letter and takes off Verona accompanied by her son Charlie. She meets up with Sophie and shares her story of love found and lost. Sophie convinces Claire that searching for Lorenzo is a worthwhile endeavor and off they go, looking for Claire’s long lost Romeo in the Tuscan countryside.
The story is a bit predictable but if you look past that there is something deeper.
What I found most interesting was not that Sophie went to Italy and found love. The real story was, Sophie found her passion in Italy, and it wasn’t Charlie. It was writing. Sophie wanted to be a writer and had been floundering in New York. In her discovery of the letter from Claire to Juliet, she found the story that would jump start her writing career. The important part is she followed her instincts, even though the whole thing seemed impossible. Those flashes of intuition or inspiration, happiness is found when we pay attention to those moments. They show us how to fulfill our hearts desires.
I was also fascinated to discover that the secretaries of Juliet are real. They pen answers to thousands of letters from all over the world. The home of Juliet, real or not, is one of the most popular tourist sites in Italy. It doesn’t matter that the balcony is a 20th century addition. Nor that Juliet is a mythical character. For those that write the letters, she is real.
Though Letters to Juliet begins in fair Verona, most of it is shot in Tuscany. Still, I saw enough of Verona to be intrigued. I’m loosely planning a trip to Venice with a day or two in Verona. It will certainly include a visit to Juliet’s home. I want to see the courtyard and the famous wall where the letters are left. Who knows what will happen there? If I don’t follow my intuition, I will never know.
What inspires you? What are you passionate about? Do you have a special place that gets your creative energy flowing?
If you need an Italy fix, watch Letters to Juliet. Sit down with a bottle of wine and plate of antipasti and feast your eyes on the gorgeous scenery. If you are a romantic sort you’ll love the story.