Screenplay By: Julian Fellowes
Based on Romeo and Juliet
by William Shakespeare
Starring: Douglas Booth, Hailee Steinfeld, Damian Lewis, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Ed Westwick & Paul Giamatti
The most dangerous love story ever told, the forbidden love of Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. Children born of rival houses is Verona whose love at first sight blinded them of the rage of their houses, but whose love cost them their lives.
Who hasn’t heard the story of Romeo and Juliet? It’s one of Shakespeares classics, the one about the young lovers who wanted nothing more than to be together. Except they couldn’t because their families were rivals. I wonder if the families even know why they dislike one another. But that’s a hole essay if you ask me. Right now, I’m only critiquing the movie. This movie, like Franco Zeffirelli’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy, this film uses the traditional setting of Renaissance Verona. However, there has been a lot of controversy that this movie did not us traditional dialogue and only followed the plot. I disagree. For the most part the lines and the settings were very Shakespearean. It was obvious the some lines were modified to make the vernacular easier to understand. Even in advance placement Shakespearean is very hard to understand and it takes of study to grasp it. With that in mind it was smart move on Julian Fellows part to adapt it this way. It was easier to understand, easier to grasp and was beautifully done.
Now as far as the acting went, it was spectacular. The casting was perfect; everyone was cast perfectly for their part. Douglas Booth was an amazing Romeo. Right down to his facial expressions and the way he delivered his lines, it was breathtaking. Ed Westwick was marvelous as Tybalt, the way he showed his rage and controlled it to the point where he was so encapsulating. It was just beautiful. All the characters, all the actors did more than just read the lines, they brought the characters to life. Right down to their facial expressions. Paul Giamatti especially had one the more expressive faces in the film alongside Lesley Manville. As the nurse and the friar respectively, they both did such a wonderful job bringing their characters to life. They blew me away.
Oh and those sword fights, some of the best. It was choreographed wonderfully and structured in a way that made everything flow. Those sword fights were masterfully done, they didn’t come off as fake or staged even though we know they are. The actors just brought it to life and made them feel real with the rage that each character held.
The cinematography was beautiful, but then again Italy is a beautiful place. It was wonderful and brought the movie to life. It made everything all that much more beautiful and real to watch. Simply everything about this movie was wonderful, it was beautiful to watch, it was heartfelt and warm. There was a moment when I actually thought they were going to get their happy ending. That is just brilliant writing to make you believe it them snatch it away and make you want to cry even though you know the story and you know there is no happy ending for Romeo and Juliet.
Hands down one of the best adaptations of Romeo and Juliet. ★★★★ (A+)