Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day #7973 - Shades of Beige

Last week, I finally went to see the movie Letters to Juliet with my mother. While it follows the predictable plot line that most romantic comedies use (and I'm a complete sucker for most of the time), this was a movie I wanted to see for different reasons. The second line of William Shakespeare's famous play declares that "In fair Verona, where we lay our scene." Verona, Italy of course being where I studied abroad two years ago and the whole reason that I started this blog in the first place. I was so excited to see this movie even if the story was terrible just because I wanted to see that skyline and the piazzas blown up on the big screen. However, the way that certain aspects of my beloved city and its citizens were portrayed irked me a bit - not a whole lot, but just enough where I felt it warranted space here.

First off, Juliet's courtyard and the letters that started it all. It's actually true that people from all over the world for over a century have been leaving letters for Juliet at her tomb, beneath her balcony, and mailing them to Verona from all over the world seeking her advice (or really, the wisdom of her secretaries). However, the movie bases its whole plot on the fact that every night the letters are removed from the walls of her courtyard - now when I was there, this wasn't done. People are no longer allowed to stick their notes and letters to the walls because they were finding that the chewing gum people were using as an adhesive was ruining the stones. In addition to this fallacy, there were the scenes that took place here. First of all, every time I was ever at the courtyard it was always PACKED with tourists - not exactly the sort of "off the beaten path" setting that the movie made it out to be. And benches for women to sit at while they sobbed and wrote letters? Yeah, not so much. I understand the need for these changes/inaccuracies - it makes for a cuter scene, a better shot, a good plot point. It's the same way that movies show people going to the Trevi Fountain in Rome and it's completely deserted except for the characters - yeah right, like that would ever happen in reality.

Also, while it is true that Italians love soccer, that doesn't mean there are always boys in the street kicking around a soccer ball. I feel like I have now seen this in every movie that's supposed to take place in Italy.

However, none of this bugged me quite as much as the color palate that the costume designer chose for this particular motion picture. Everyone was wearing beige, all the time! Beige, cream, khakis, pastels - if it was light and kind of bland, that's the color they were wearing. And not just the principle cast, but the extras too! I couldn't help but laugh and cry a little bit at the same time - the Italy I went to and the Verona I have pictures of are filled with explosions of COLOR, and vibrant ones at that. Again, I'm sure it was so people weren't clashing all over the place on screen, but I couldn't believe that such a blah color palate was used to show people in the land of love, life, and passion. But I guess que sera, sera, no?

So that's my rambling for this evening. Not exactly an issue of substance, but something I just felt like throwing out there. I'll get better at this with more time, I hope :o)


  1. I agree with your ramblings. I just saw the movie last week here in Poland -- yes it was in English.. but they definitely did not show enough of Verona. They mainly just had scenes of Piazza Erbe with a quick shot of the arena. Hope you are doing well -- my blog is meglew.blogspot.com

  2. Oh I know! I was hoping for a lot more Verona, not just quick shots of Piazza Erbe, Castelvecchio, and the Arena. Sounds like you're having fun in Poland!