Romeo + Juliet

Romeo and Juliet, it’s a tale as old as time itself. Many consider it to be the greatest piece of writing in the history of mankind, but even if it’s not Shakespeare’s best work, it does indeed have his most profound poetry. There is a reason why it is beloved to this day, and there are hundreds of adaptations of it if not thousands. Romeo + Juliet is an odd adaptation of this great play, mainly because it brings Shakespeare’s story out of the old English settings and into modern-day Italy.

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The Movie Review

Who doesn’t know the story of Romeo and Juliet? It follows the star-crossed lovers as they navigate their sudden passionate love affair. This love affair is made incredibly difficult due to their feuding families. Baz Luhrmann’s vision brings forth the intense struggles of Romeo and Juliet, captivating you with its vibrant portrayal of young love in a world plagued by violence. This adaptation of Shakespeare’s timeless tale takes a daring approach by setting it in 1990s Italy, specifically the city of Verona.

The film retains the poetic dialogue while infusing it with a modern twist, as the language seamlessly integrates with the present-day setting, presenting it as the local dialect. It works wonders too, as the film manages to maintain the essence of Shakespeare’s writing in its poetic dialogue. Yet, it still makes itself accessible to contemporary viewers because they care more about people in the current world than Shakespearean legends.

The film does feel a bit confused with its setting though, as it doesn’t really know what it wants to be at times. The choice to replace swords with guns suits the updated backdrop, but it also doesn’t work as well for the Shakespearean tale because you had monologues within those sword fights that are just missing, and there isn’t any substitute for them either. The film also fails at the ending, there’s a huge plot hole there that I won’t dive into because it’s spoiler territory.

The Characters

Leonardo DiCaprio (Titanic, The Aviator, Blood Diamond) and Claire Danes (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Homeland, Fleishman Is in Trouble) shine in their respective roles as Romeo and Juliet, bringing palpable chemistry and youthful passion to their performances. DiCaprio’s Romeo exudes a perfect blend of vulnerability and reckless abandon, meanwhile, Danes’ Juliet is full of conviction, effectively conveying the character’s internal conflict as she navigates her forbidden romance.

The best thing here is Harold Perrineau’s portrayal of Mercutio, particularly memorable, his unforgettable entrance in drag will leave an indelible mark on your mind.

The Visuals

The film does not have good cinematography, though. It looks almost the same as you’d expect any film from the 90s to look like, it’s bland and boring with barely any emotion in its camera work. The sets, costumes, and overall art direction contribute to essentially nothing, it’s almost as if you’re thrown into a random place in Italy with no magical realism to be found. Though, the underwater sequences were quite innovative at the time, and they still look visually stunning; aside from that and the visually striking imagery, there’s not much to write home about.

The Music

The soundtrack is mainly made up of some amazing combination of popular songs from the era, rather than an original soundtrack itself. The original soundtrack is not that good, but the tunes from Radiohead’s Talk Show Host in combination with a classic tune to it just makes everything so much better. There is still a need for an original soundtrack in every movie, and this one severely misses out on that aspect.


So, while Romeo + Juliet might be a daring modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s timeless tale, the film struggles with its confused setting. It maintains the essence of Shakespeare’s writing through its poetic dialogue, and yet the dialogue just doesn’t fit well with the film. The actors deliver beautiful performances, but they can’t save it. It’s an engaging adaptation, one that has a lot of emotional power, but it has a lot of flaws to call it great.

Romeo + Juliet
Romeo + Juliet is a romantic crime movie from 1996 that stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. Download it now and see what happened.
6.5 Total Score
Romeo + Juliet Review Summary

Sound & Music
  • Effective infusion of modern setting with Shakespearean dialogue
  • Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes deliver exceptional performances with palpable chemistry
  • Successful use of underwater sequences, visually stunning and innovative at the time
  • Some great usage of popular songs of the 90s era to make the film more immersive
  • The film’s setting and identity are confused
  • The ending has a significant plot hole
  • Mediocre cinematography that lacks visual power
  • Lack of original soundtrack, relying mainly on popular songs from the era
User Rating: 5 (1 vote)
20th Century Fox
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Zain Bhatti

Zain Bhatti

Zain is an aspiring filmmaker who has invested thousands of hours of his life into understanding films and the way they are made. He has a passion for films, a love for cinematography, and adores a film that breaks the rules to bring something refreshing to the table!

Apart from films he also has a love for video games with immersive worlds and adores any piece of consumable media that he can analyze for countless hours.