Our movie begins with Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) walking through downtown New York, as she’s on the phone trying to track down several individuals to see where they were on the day they found out World War Two was over. She has a picture in her hand of the famous kiss that took place between a sailor and a nurse and she’s trying to confirm if it was staged or spontaneous. As she’s in Times Square where the picture was taken she finds the right person who can verify her question.
She meets with her boss at the New Yorker who asks her to be very certain that this information is correct, which she is, and he compliments her on her work. She asks him if she can start to submit some stories to him as she really wants to write but he says she’s such a good fact checker that there is no need to want for more. He then asks her about the trip she is leaving for. Sophie and her fiancé Victor (Gael Garcia Bernal) are leaving on a pre-honeymoon to go to Verona Italy because her fiancé will be opening a restaurant up in a few weeks and there will be no time after the wedding to leave.
She heads to the restaurant to find Victor unhappy because she can’t write like she wants to, and finds instead of him packing, he’s in the kitchen reinventing the noodle. She’s annoyed because he hasn’t packed and they’re leaving for Italy in 12 hours, but he sweeps her off her feet and makes her smile and forgives him.
They fly to Italy and are staying in a hotel in Verona with a small balcony. They are both so excited to be there but for different reasons. Victor has been called by his manager who has arranged for him to meet with some of their suppliers while he’s there and they spend the first day traipsing around the country side meeting with suppliers at the wineries, and in the cheese shops. Victor speaks fluent Italian and Sophie doesn’t, so she’s left out of most of the conversations. She’s getting more and more visibly annoyed and finally snaps a little when Victor says that they are now ready to go on to the forest 125 kilometers away to see his truffle supplier. Sophie says she doesn’t want to go, and wants to do some sightseeing with him, but Victor really only cares about the food. He gives her guilt saying that he’ll do what she wants even though it’s obvious that it’s not what he wants and she relents and offers to go sightseeing alone while he goes onto see the truffles himself. He claims it’s a Win-Win situation but Sophie isn’t sure.
We later see Sophie wandering through the streets of Verona by herself and she stumbles upon a tiny alleyway where there’s a crowd of people standing there. It’s the alley outside of the balcony made famous by William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet and its known as Juliet’s balcony. There are lots of people there, especially young women and girls writing letters which they pin on the wall for Juliet. Sophie stops one girl who’s sobbing and asks if she’s ok, and the girls speaking only Italian makes it clear that her heart has been broken.
Sophie stays to write, and spots a woman taking down all of the letters and putting them into a basket, taking them with her. Sophie is curious and she follows the woman to a house several doors down and discovers a group of women in an office known as the Secretaries of Juliet. They take down the letters each day and write back offering advice and comfort. Sophie is so intrigued and fascinated she stays for the day learning about them. She’s invited to stay for dinner y one of the women but she says she needs to get back to Victor who will be missing her. The mother of one of the women sends her back with dinner for them both.
She goes to the hotel to tell Victor about her find, but he can’t concentrate on what she’s saying, he’s too busy smelling and then enjoying the food she’s brought back with her. He goes with her the next day to meet the woman who prepared the food and tells Sophie that he really wants to stay to learn how to cook from her. Sophie is disappointed once again but is excited to spend the day with the secretaries of Juliet seeing what they do. As she’s helping that afternoon take down the letters on the wall she comes across a hole in the wall where a letter has been left more than 50 years ago. It’s from a young British girl who writes that she left her love Lorenzo Bartollini and didn’t run away with them as she had promised she would. She asks Juliet for guidance but until now the letter hasn’t been seen. Sophie is moved by the letter and insists that she must write back. She spends all day perfecting her words and sends the letter out.
She returns to the hotel and Victor tells her about this amazing opportunity he has to go to a Wine Auction for several days but he can only get one ticket. He tells her that if she doesn’t want him to go he won’t go, but it’s obvious he’s already made up his mind. She tells him to go and he tells her that she can stay and write with the women and do her thing and it’s a Win-Win situation again.
Several days later Sophie is sitting with the Secretaries and a man comes in asking who wrote the letter to Claire. Sophie is shocked that it found her, and the man turns out to be her grandson Charlie (Christopher Egan) who has come with his grandmother on her journey. Sophie desperately wants to meet Claire (Vanessa Redgrave), but Charlie refuses saying that she’s done enough, and angrily leaves. Sophie follows him to meet Claire who has been waiting under Juliet’s balcony in the alleyway. Sophie introduces herself to Charlie’s annoyance and she and Claire become quick friends. They have dinner that night all together where Claire reveals she has come to find Lorenzo and apologize for being such a coward, and shows that she still has the ring he gave her. Charlie is worried about this plan, but Sophie asks if she can come along, as she would love to write a story abut it all. Charlie and Sophie argue but Claire says that she would love for Sophie to come with her.
They drive to the village where Claire first met Lorenzo, and meet a man called Lorenzo Bartollini but he’s not the right Lorenzo. They regroup and try to narrow down how many there are, and map them out throughout Tuscany since Claire is certain that he would never have left the area.
They show a montage of clips as they meet different Lorenzo Bartollini’s and each time it’s not the right man. However most are very attracted Claire and offer that they would be happy to be “her” Lorenzo whenever she likes. Each night they return to a local Hotel in Sienna where they regroup and Sophie and Charlie come to a truce and then eventually a better understanding of one another as they reveal why Charlie is so protective of his grandmother (Parents killed in a Plane crash when he was young) and Sophie why she’s clinging to Victor so hard (mother walked out on her and her dad when she was very little). Sophie calls Victor each night but he’s distant and uninterested in what she’s doing and keeps adding just a few more days to his trip to do more of the things for his restaurant. Meanwhile Charlie has taken a very big interest in Sophie and tries to spend more time with her each day. However as they look for one Lorenzo Bartollini, they discover that he recently dies and Claire is obviously upset because she has no way of knowing if it was her Lorenzo. Charlie takes his anger out on Sophie and says that it’s all her fault, and what would she know about loss, her mother didn’t die, she just left. Claire scolds him and says that in Sophie’s case it was worse, because her mother chose to leave her. They are quiet as they return to the hotel that night and Charlie says that its time to go home. That night Sophie comes out to speak with Charlie who’s lying on the ground looking at the stars. She joins him and tells him that she’s not sorry that she sent the letter, but she is sorry that they are leaving. Charlie says the same thing, and that he doesn’t want to go, meaning that he doesn’t want to leave her. He kisses her and she kisses him back and then suddenly realizes what she’s doing and gets up and goes inside. Charlie doesn’t know whether or not to say anything, and we realize that Claire has been watching from her window the whole time.
The next morning they are all quiet and Claire tries to lighten the mood and encourage them to not be afraid of their feelings. She suggests that they go and get a bottle of wine at a vineyard that they pass by to prolong their journey from ending. As they drive through the vineyard Claire spots a young man working in the fields and she begs them to stop the car. She looks like she’s seen a ghost and says that the young man IS her Lorenzo. Sophie goes to ask him his name and it’s Lorenzo Bartollini. Charlie gets excited and joins Sophie as another man comes up and asks what’s going on and says that HIS name is Lorenzo Bartollini. Sophie deduces that they must be his children and grandchildren. They ask where their father is and are told that he’s out riding and will be back soon. Claire begs them to leave before he returns. Charlie and Sophie try to convince her but she hears the sounds of hooves and watches as HER Lorenzo (Franco Nero) shows up on horseback (scenes from the trailer). His son and Grandson tell him her name and it’s clear that he remembers her very well and they embrace while Charlie and Sophie look on.
Lorenzo invites them all for dinner and they visit and catch up while Charlie and Sophie try not to look at each other at the table. Lorenzo reveals that he lost his Rose (wife), just as she lost her Jack (husband) but that Destiny must have wanted them to get together, and he thanks Sophie for making it all happen. Sophie is uncomfortable being around Charlie and asks Lorenzo for a ride from one of his sons back to Verona. Charlie looks on in disbelief as she leaves and his grandmother asks what he’s waiting for, and how many Sophie’s does he think he’ll meet? He drives back to Verona meaning to confront her about his feelings for her, and spies her on the balcony hugging Victor who is happy to see her. He decides that he can’t ruin her happiness and he drives away, missing the fact that Victor gets interrupted by a phone call again and walks away from Sophie who looks miserable.
Back in New York Sophie is showing her story about the letter to her boss who is enthralled and wants to know what happened next. Sophie sadly says that she didn’t stay in touch. She asks what her boss thinks and he tells her to buy stock in the Italian Airlines because of the number of women who will be flocking to Verona. Sophie is overjoyed that he’s printing her story and he asks her if she has any more for him. She is on her way out with her friend to lunch to celebrate when she is handed her messages and mail by the receptionist. She has received a wedding invitation from Claire and Lorenzo for the wedding that weekend in Sienna and Claire has included the letter that Sophie found that started it all.
Sophie heads to the restaurant where she proceeds to tell Victor that she will b going to the wedding but alone. He tries to protest but she breaks things off with him and heads home to pack for her journey leaving him alone in his kitchen.
She arrives at the wedding looking for Charlie and surprises him that she came. He looks very happy to see her and she starts to tell him why she’s there when she’s interrupted by Patricia, who Sophie believes is his date. She heads inside and watches as Lorenzo marries Claire. As they are enjoying the reception Sophie is struggling not to cry while watching Charlie when Claire interrupts and asks if she can read aloud the response that Sophie sent to her. The letter is wonderfully written and centers around the words “What if” and encourages her to follow her dreams. Everyone applauds the letter and Sophie smiles and excuses herself from the reception. Charlie notices that she’s upset and follows her. As he chases her behind the building she seems to have disappeared, and comes out standing atop a balcony above him. She tearfully tells him that she broke up with Victor because she’s in love with him but that since he’s with Patricia now she wishes him well. Charlie interrupts saying that Patricia is his cousin, not his date and proceeds to climb up the balcony to Sophie telling her that he’s in love with her too. He asks her where she wants to live and talks up how London is wonderful and he can make her happy there but if she wants to live in New York then he will be more than happy moving there so long as he can be with her. She agrees and as he’s leaning in to kiss her the vine he’s climbing snaps and he falls to the ground. Sophie rushes in and asks if he’s ok, and he asks her if anyone saw him fall. She looks up to see the whole wedding party looking on but lies and tells him no as she kisses him.
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