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"Romeo and Juliet" (2013) Movie Review

Updated on June 23, 2014

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"Romeo and Juliet" Rating

2 stars for Romeo and Juliet

"For Never Was A Story Of More Woe...

...than this of Juliet and her Romeo."

These are the poetic ending lines of William Shakespeare's epic play of love, murder, and sorrow. These words mean to convey that it's terrible that two young people were essentially killed by hate. When applied to this movie though, the words' meaning is much different. This is a tale of woe because it shouldn't have been done. It's simply not a good adaption for something on the scale of Shakespeare. In fact the writers desecrate his memory by only using a few of his original lines and rewriting their own in and adding some needless scenes as if to explain the plot better for idiots who can't follow Shakespeare's original script.

Now for those who don't know the story of "Romeo and Juliet" is of two young people who fall in love at first sight. They tragically come from families that have been having a feud for centuries and constantly are at each other's throats in the streets of Verona. Romeo and Juliet defy this long feud and marry each other and their love story ends in complete tragedy.

There are good things about this adaption. The scenery is lovely. The sets are all very of the time and are beautiful. There's plenty of well done costumes. The acting by a few of the cast is excellent. Benvolio was really good. I have always pictured him as being a few years older than Romeo, but I like that they decided to make him appear a little younger. His emotions are honest and you can see and understand what they mean really easily.

The bad things sadly outnumber the good. First of all: they changed the script. Who does that to a work of art like Shakespeare? If you want to write your own script, be original and make up your own story! I think the writer could have came up with a medieval story involving love, murder, deception, and sorrow. It's not that difficult. They could have even done some historical research and found a forbidden love story that's historical. There's a million of them out there. I can even name one. Snow White the fairy tale was supposedly based on the countess Margarete von Waldeck who was sent away by her stepmother to live in the country where she ended up meeting and falling in love with Phillip the second who was destined to become the king of Spain. She died mysteriously at age 21, possibly a victim of poisoning by someone in the court. It's a sad story yet also a love and murderous story.

One other really bad thing about this movie is Juliet. The actress-Hailee Steinfeld- who plays her is just not Juliet to me. She's sweet and obviously cares for Romeo, but I felt she wasn't quite that pure, beautiful, loving spirit that Olivia Hussey brought with her version of Juliet from the 60's. Olivia was also undeniably more attractive than Hailee. To be fair to Hailee though, Juliet is tough shoes to fill. I don't even really like Claire Danes as Juliet in the 90's movie version, because I feel too picky about how Juliet should look in my mind. Olivia Hussey just was perfect in every way as Juliet. I believed she was madly in love with Romeo and I believed he was madly in love with her from that version. Just the way the two stared at each other longingly, and the way they proclaimed their love for each other, and kissed each other as if it was the last time they would ever get to see each other.

That leads to that I also felt that Romeo and Juliet in this newer adaption don't have that intensity of the other movie adaptions. I can see why they wanted to make their performances different than those other ones, yet it really doesn't do them favors to not act completely crazy in love. I believed they loved each other and it was acted out well enough, yet it seemed a little vague. Honestly when Romeo -played by Douglas Booth- is leaving to go to be banished I couldn't help thinking: yeah, that's the last time you're going to see that guy Juliet! He used you, killed your cousin, and now he's going to go off to be banished and live la vida loca with the banished women of Verona. I didn't really feel that way in the older movie versions, but for some reason when I saw him walking away from her in this one that's what crossed my mind. I blame this on the writer redoing Shakespeare's words. In Shakespeare's words you feel the intensity and power of this couple's love and lust. You sense their desire. You know these two are completely smitten. With the new dialog from the writer I just didn't see that with the characters. Shakespeare's words are perfect the way they were. I think the actors really tried though to show the love, but at times it looked like they felt strange saying the redone lines.

I'd say if you are a big fan of romance or time period movies you might like this movie. If you're a die hard Shakespeare fan skip it and watch the 60's version of "Romeo and Juliet", because this will sound horrid and desecrating to Shakespeare to you. This movie is similar to "A Walk To Remember", "Twilight", and "Letters To Juliet". If you liked those movies you might enjoy this one.

"Romeo and Juliet"

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"Romeo and Juliet"

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      Chrysanthemum 2 years ago

      It's sad to hear how badly this turned out! I like all of the prior adaptions to film Romeo and Juliet has gone through. The 60s one is still the best in my opinion however.

    • Nicole Hering profile image
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      Nicole Kristine 2 years ago from MN

      It is a real shame. The original one is the best adaption by far if you want something closest to the play. Plus I think the casting for the first adaption is superior to the 90s one.

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