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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 8 December 2005
I hear so many people say that this film 'butchered' Shakespeare but I strongly think otherwise. Prepare yourself to see a modern twist of the classic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. It is a feast for the senses with lavish sets, a hip soundtrack, colorful costumes, and cutting edge direction. Leonardo and Claire give heart-wrenching performances. I think that Shakespeare would be pleased because this film really captures the raw teen-angst that the star-crossed lovers experienced. So, expect to see something different, and you just might find yourself pleasantly surprised.
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on 25 July 2009
Okay so when you first begin to watch this movie your so close to branding it over dramatic, Americanised drivel. I'll admit it I nearly turned it off...then when Leo Dicaprio smoldered onto the screen and began versing in the perfect words of old Shaky himself I sat up and listened. Never could I imagine a better choice of a young brooding Romeo than he. He plays the role with youthful innocnce, passion and is just utterly captivating. Clare Danes wouldnt have been my perfect Juliet..granted, but she is fresh looking and truly beautiful and by the end of the movie I had warmed to her and her infectious smile. The chemisrty between these two is almost tangible its so real. What convincing and memorable preformances!
You must see this movie...its like marmite. Some will feel the that this film isnt a true reflection of the oridginal works and dismiss it as another dull remake. But in relaity its so much more than that. Its a modern take done on a true classic that keeps the spirit of these charaters alive and the story as tragicly heartbreaking as ever.
On a side note the soundtrack is perfect. The setting sets the tone amazingly well and the direction although sometimes over the top and a little silly (opening gas station scene) is pretty dam good.
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on 18 February 2002
Two fantastic films by director Baz Luhrmann that will each enchant the viewer.
Romeo and Juliet turned an old classic love story into a modern masterpiece which kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the film (even though I, as do many others already know the ending!) Set in Verona, it's use of antiquated Shakespearean language is given a modern twist in the context that the film is set in, with the use of modern props like cars. The two stars Leonardo DiCaprio (Romeo), and Claire Danes (Juliet)are very believable in their roles of the tragic star crossed lovers led by fate, each going against their families wishes to pursue their love for one another.
Moulin Rouge is a musical in which Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman deliver an outstanding performance in the roles of Christian and Satine. It will make you laugh, and guaranteed it will make you cry as the tragic love story is revealed. I didn't see one dry face as I walked out the cinema after the film had ended.
Try and see how many modern songs you recognise as they are joined together to make the story even more emotive, and look out for a cameo appearance by pop star Kylie Minogue.
Two tragic love stories that the director has successfully modernised to contrast with the old periods in time in which the films are set.
Don't forget your box of tissues for two emotional rollercoasters!
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on 10 January 2006
In my experience, a lot of people have a very blinkered view of Shakespeare as being outdated and incomprehensible, but this film single-handedly dispels all of these modern preconceptions. It combines the timeless romance of Romeo and Juliet with some very edgy, in places borderline chaotic, direction from Luhrmann.

It is at some points reminiscent of Requiem For A Dream when it cuts to and from a scene, speeding up certain elements within a scene to draw attention to others, and has all the vibrancy of Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge with bold colours and fast-paced action.

This film is, in my opinion, the better kind of Shakespearean modernisation. Luhrmann's interpretation of the characters and the backdrop bring the play bang up to date; the opening scene comes to pass at a petrol station where rival gangs meet and subsequently enter into a gun-fight, and the fancy-dress party involving (amongst others) an astronaut; while at the same time the language is firmly rooted in the original text, losing none of the dramatic impact which was originally intended for audiences in the 16th century.

I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get (re)acquainted with Shakespeare, but without any of the boredom that may have been inflicted when first meeting with the Bard in school, and get to grips with one of his best known, and loved, plays.
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on 16 March 2001
This isn't like any Shakespeare you'll have ever seen. This isn't like anything you'll have ever seen. Shot in a style which makes NYPD Blue look sedate, Baz Luhrman's version of Romeo and Juliet is one to take the breath away. The story is the same, the setting totally different. Placed in a world of pimps and drugs, crime and revenge Romeo and Juliet sizzles with the wit, energy and passion that the bard deserves. The acting throughout is superb with DiCaprio and Danes in especially good form. John Leguizamo's Tybalt also deserves a mention as a brilliant characterisation. This has to be the best version of Romeo and Juliet around. With a brilliant soundtrack, incredible camera work and of course the incomparable script this film is a work of art that deserves to be seen time and time again
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on 16 September 2003
Studying this for my A Levels, I thought "Romeo and Juliet, how done to death" but upon being told we were first watching Baz Luhrmann's film, I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt, being a Luhrmann fan.
At first it was funny,then upon the meeting of Danes and DiCaprio,it becomes very emotional. Both actors did a bloody good job,Danes only being 18 at the time, and Leo just making his way to the top of his career.
As the star crossed lovers face being torn apart, Juliet decides to pretend to be dead,helped by a potion,though Romeo thinks she has died.Both did a splendid performance, and the dying scene,complete with flashbacks is one of Luhrmann's best scenes,accompanied by horrendously emotional music,that makes you want to cry,as well as the other music set for Danes and Dicaprio.
Luhrmann has done it again. Made us laugh,made us cry but most of all,put us in touch with everything and anything is possible. One of the most emotional films i've scene and Danes did a fabulous performance of the naive Juliet,as did Dicaprio of the doomed montague.one to watch again and again!
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on 7 May 2003
A visually stunning and thought provoking portrayal of Shakespeare's most famous play that will leave you in awe. I have just been studying this film for my GCSE coursework in microscopic detail - so I should know!
Lurhmann adapts the Shakepearian text to make it appealing and easier for modern audiences to grasp. Complete with high octane gun fights, passionate love scenes and plenty for you to think about afterwards, this is a film you can not afford to pass over, even if you think reading Shakespeare is like reading Arabic!
Leonardo di Caprio and Claire Danes are perfectly cast as the lead roles and with Baz Luhrmann in the director's seat and an expert production team behind him, Romeo + Juliet will, if nothing else, leave you thinking a lot more about the world, and at the very most, desparate to read more Shakeperian plays or more Luhrmann films.
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on 6 February 2008
The opening sequence of this film includes arial shots of an American city in which a church spire is dominated by two much taller skyscrapers belonging to the chief businesses there. Visually, this sums up one of the important themes of the play, how material values in Verona have become more important than spiritual ones. There are many more ways in which this film intelligently translates Shakespeare's words into pictures. Particularly enjoyable is the way in which, at the Capulet's party, all the major characters play a symbol of themselves: Tybalt is a devil, Lady Capulet is Cleopatra, Mercutio is a transvestite, Juliet is an angel, and though Romeo begins as an astronaut, he ends up looking far more like a knight in shinning armour. The text is very much shorter than we might expect and few of the actors speak the text with much lyricism but anyone who has to teach this play might do a lot worse than ask students to compare and contrast this with Zeffirelli's version, but beware, your discussion could go on for several sessions.
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on 7 March 2002
This adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet is the best I have seen.
Having always found Shakespeare's language hard to grasp, the thought of a modern day film with Elizabethan dialect was rather off putting. However, the way the characters and the world around them is presented to you enables you to understand everything that is going on.
The setting of the play has been moved from it's Elizabethan origins to the 'futuristic urban backdrop of Verona Beach'. The swords have become guns, the horses have become cars and the story has become more believable.
There are elements of William Shakespeare's original play cleverly slotted in throughout the film. The gun fights stick to the rules of Elizabethan sword fighting (as is explained in an interview with John Leguizamo on the DVD) and the bill boards and posters contain lines from other Shakespeare plays.
As well as being the best version of Romeo & Juliet I have seen, it is also one of the best films I have seen!
The film is also backed up by an excellent soundtrack and the DVD is packed with interesting extras.
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on 12 June 2005
This version of the classic Romeo and Juliet is exceptionally good. I teach English at a secondary school and it is the only film version of Romeo and Juliet that I have shown in lessons that the kids have genuinely loved and understood the majority of. I think this is because they can relate to the costumes (modern dress), settings (a house party and pool/snooker amongst others) and issues (at one point, the Montague boys take drugs at the party). The film is full colour and is modernised so that the setting becomes Verona Beach. A background of modern music (rock, metal and soul) also anchors the mood of scenes. There is a superb cast (I can't imagine any alternative choices of actors could have played the roles of Tybalt and Benvolio more sucessfully), which means that every line is delivered convincingly, emotively and in an engaging way. The film, however, is not wholly faithful to the script - although the original middle English is spoken, not modern English, the editing of the film means that some scenes are in a different order to the play and there is some cutting of lines. I watch the film with the subtitles on in class so students can follow the Shakespearian language too, as admittedly, it can be hard to understand today and some pupils relied wholly on the visual images to make sense of the plot! The only downside was that less able pupils engaged so thoroughly with this, they began to refer to Romeo and Juliet as a 'film' in coursework and wrote about 'the petrol station scene' - too engaging, perhaps?!
This film would be great for anyone though, regardless of whether or not you are studying the play, but 50-odd positive responses from notoriously hard-to-please 15 year olds had to be worth a mention!
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