Metascore
60

Mixed or average reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 20
  2. Negative: 2 out of 20

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    Amid the clamor from outraged purists and Shakespeare spinning in his Stratford-on-Avon, England, grave, you should notice that Luhrmann and his two bright angels have shaken up a 400-year-old play without losing its touching, poetic innocence.
  2. Reviewed by: Alex Ross
    90
    It may be the most visually imaginative Shakespeare film since Akira Kurosawa's "Ran", and certainly one of the more operatic Hollywood creations of recent years.
  3. This Romeo & Juliet is a rich visual feast, besotted with the fervor of its acrobatic camerawork and kinetic staging and its mind-bending aggregation of unrelated but resonant fragments of 20th-century iconography.
  4. Reviewed by: Bob McCabe
    80
    Baz Luhrmann takes the audience on a unique ride through one of the Bard's best-known texts, illuminating the story, occasionally subjugating the language but always delivering a vision that is bold, brassy, hugely inventive and accessible and, in a strange way, just right.
  5. 75
    While such a loud, brash interpretation may not go down in cinematic history as the definitive version of the play, hopefully it will open a few eyes and widen the audience willing to venture into any movie bearing the credit "based on the play by William Shakespeare."
  6. 75
    For all the hubbub, the film succeeds in relating Shakespeare to modern times, thanks mainly to the use of energetic pop music and the gameness of the performers.
  7. As the doomed lovers, DiCaprio and Danes -- both luminous, limpid-eyed beauties -- are allowed to deliver delicate, unpretentious performances, and their love becomes a modest, frighteningly fragile oasis amidst a tawdry saturnalia of noise and glitter.
  8. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    Despite implied fidelity, we might as well be watching William Shakespeare's The Cable Guy. Yet the film's skewed stylistic flourishes capture enough of the original's spirit to provoke more respect than rejection. [01Nov1996, Pg. 01.D]
  9. Moving the action to a modern American city, the hyperactive movie seems goofy and gimmicky at first, but it acquires real power when the cinematography settles down enough for Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes to do some excellent acting.
  10. Los Angeles Times
    Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    70
    Juiced to the max and drenched in style, this "Romeo," mad about its image-a-minute visual agenda, is sure to infuriate as much as it delights. But the film can't be bothered to slow down for your reaction, and it never forgets its duty to be alive on the screen. [1 Nov 1996, pg.F1]
  11. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    70
    Luhrmann, an Australian who pretty much let his camera go nuts in the egregiously overrated "Strictly Ballroom", here makes reasonable, imaginative decisions that are, arguably, true to Shakespeare.
  12. 70
    For all of its departures, Luhrmann's largely successful reinterpretation is far from irreverent. He takes liberties with the world, but never the words of this achingly beautiful love story.
User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 90 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 21
  2. Negative: 9 out of 21
  1. Apr 10, 2015
    2
    This has to be the worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life. I'd have to take the drugs Romeo took at the party to even remotely enjoyThis has to be the worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life. I'd have to take the drugs Romeo took at the party to even remotely enjoy this horrible piece of s*** that has been taken upon the chest of Shakespeare himself. Full Review »
  2. Nov 15, 2012
    1
    Very poor at giving one who has not read the books before an accurate impression of the story. The difficult to understand dialogue made anyVery poor at giving one who has not read the books before an accurate impression of the story. The difficult to understand dialogue made any attempt to comprehend the story extremely difficult, and the setting of a fictional Florida city did not help, nor did the African-American cross dressing dancer with a moustache. The party scenes that attempted to show what a party in Renaissance era may have looked come off as very overdone and look very poor in contrast with the somewhat serious scenes the movie contains. Full Review »
  3. GaryDF
    Nov 17, 2008
    0
    A play which should be worshiped no mocked!! And the moder day adaption is all it does in its pathetic attempts to impress!