Relativity Media | Release Date: October 11, 2013
6.0
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Mixed or average reviews based on 21 Ratings
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5
VinceMOct 18, 2013
This version of the timeless classic is, generally, a disappointment. The settings in Italy, (Verona and Manchua) was pure delights so much so that it was somewhat of a distraction. The music and costumes were also beautifully executed.This version of the timeless classic is, generally, a disappointment. The settings in Italy, (Verona and Manchua) was pure delights so much so that it was somewhat of a distraction. The music and costumes were also beautifully executed. Perhaps the poorest part of this effort was Juliet. Ms. Steinfeld was miscast and poorly directed. So many of her infamous lines were mumbled or given without real feeling especially the balcony scene which she rushed through with such poor articulation. She really was a poor match for the power of Mr. Booth. Next were the liberties Mr. Fellowes took with the Shakespearean lines. His attempts to make the language more contemporary were an insult to this classic and hurt the overall effect rather than make it more understandable and enjoyable. Expand
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6
fearless11Oct 30, 2013
Overall, the main reason for the lack of quality of Romeo and Juliet was the script. It kind of ruined the whole thing. The script of the movie was a defiled version of the play, with way-too-obvious comedic entries and other unnecessaryOverall, the main reason for the lack of quality of Romeo and Juliet was the script. It kind of ruined the whole thing. The script of the movie was a defiled version of the play, with way-too-obvious comedic entries and other unnecessary stuff that you could see right through. The Downton Abbey writer, Julian Fellowes, completely adulterated the original material, and I haven't even read the play those changes were truly quite obvious. It felt like he was purposefully trying to attract an audience that wanted to have fun instead of experiencing the tragedy story properly, what it actually is.

They placed too much emphasis on kissing and swords, but mostly the kissing was very exaggerated in amount, although there was no sex (I didn't like this). The swords only went in 10 inches, and the characters all died within 1 minute. I mean, come on, no one dies that quickly of such a blow.

The acting was pretty great, though, especially the male actors'. I found Douglas Booth's performance better than Hailee Steinfeld's, perhaps because it was only her second movie and she might not have been as deeply familiar with the story as Booth. But she was still very good. Damian Lewis, Christian Cooke (Mercutio), and, most surprisingly, Kodi Smit-McPhee (Benvolio) and Ed Westwick (Tybalt) did really great jobs. I really have to stress Douglas Booth's performance, though. He did an incredible job, truly. The tone of his voice, the look in his face, his whole demeanor changed perfectly and seamlessly from scene to scene, emotion to emotion, line to line. Superb.

From a technical point of view, the editing of the "battle" scenes was ridiculously terrible, change of shot every second, from bad shot to worse shot. Pretty awful. Cinematography was actually ok, in all fairness good at some points, but the editing ruined it. And lastly, the sets (and outdoors settings), the costumes, and the hair and makeup were so good. Unimaginably beautiful, perfectly realized, and so gorgeously well-tailored. They made me a bit reminiscent of Anna Karenina, so stunning they were.
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5
ThegodfathersonOct 13, 2013
William Shakespeare's love story has been told and retold for hundreds of years, but in the hands of Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, Romeo and Juliet finally becomes the young adult fiction incarnation Twilight fan fiction writers haveWilliam Shakespeare's love story has been told and retold for hundreds of years, but in the hands of Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, Romeo and Juliet finally becomes the young adult fiction incarnation Twilight fan fiction writers have been dying to see. In the hands of a gifted director and acting ensemble, Shakespeare's text blazes like poetry plucked directly from the heart. Director Carlo Carlei reduces the language to greeting card copy. With zero rhythm or dynamism, the spiritless effort drags stars Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth through scenes like they've been assigned readings in eighth period English class. Romeo and Juliet may bare the name of the Shakespearean classic, but a rose doesn't smell sweet because just because it's called a rose. Steinfeld, the Oscar-nominated youngster from 2010's True Grit, steps into the shoes of Juliet, opposite Tiger Beat-worthy Booth. Fellowes' adaptation sticks to the plotting of the 1597 original: Romeo is a son of the Montagues, who vehemently despise the Capulets, their rival family in the city of Verona. As their brothers fight in the streets, Romeo and his cousin Benvolio plot to crash a Capulet ball so that the brooding hunk can meet up with the object of his affection, Rosaline. But one eye-full of Juliet is all it takes for Romeo's entire world to turn upside down. Rosaline is an afterthought; Romeo whisks Juliet away to profess his love. He's stricken, so is she, and the two seal their newfound, eternal love with a smooch (which Carlei shoots in close-up so we can see all the spittle). Booth has the opposite problem; He's a super serious ham who bides time with longful gazing. Most of this falls on the world Carlei and Fellowes are crafting around these characters; If you're going to build to a double suicide executed in the name of love, the stakes have to be a little higher than a typical CW high school drama. The supporting cast is equally scatterbrained, with a few performances that find a watchable groove. Kodi Smit-McPhee as Benvolio is a scene-stealer, adding intrigue and humanity in every beat while keeping the old English dialogue bouncing. Why wasn't this guy Romeo? Not hunky enough, perhaps. Paul Giamatti works similar magic as Friar Laurence, fulfilling the audience fantasy of repeatedly hitting Romeo in the head for being overly obsessed with a girl he met two days ago. In fact, it might be time to retire Romeo & Juliet from the straight adaptation repertoire yearning to become a man's wife after knowing the guy for two days isn't exactly a lesson worth teaching. There's always a fear of playing Shakespeare too big. Damian Lewis as Lord Capulet and Ed Westwick as Tybalt are basically shouting into megaphones. The Homeland star screams his epic speak at every turn, never giving the patriarch a purpose in the film's tapestry. Westwick stumbles even harder, coming off like a Disney bad guy Gaston meets Scar in one of the sillier villain performances of the year. Even with a troupe of talented actors and a few gems to be found in the rough, Romeo & Juliet is a total drag. Carlei translates the play with an eye for literalism, with actors mimicking their lines like ASL interpreters. There's no trust in Shakespeare's words, to the point where even the flourishes some decent-looking Italian backdrops and the occasional sword fight feel like filler. Romeo & Juliet needs heat, it needs vibrant romance, it needs a reason to be reexamined. Unfortunately, the modern generation doesn't need this movie. Expand
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4
DCEdmondsNov 13, 2014
"Romeo and Juliet" 10 Scale Rating: 4.0 (Bad) ...

The Good: The supporting cast was amazing and it's a shame that it was a wasted effort. Ed Westwick (Tybalt), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Benvolio), and Christian Cooke (Mercucio) especially stood
"Romeo and Juliet" 10 Scale Rating: 4.0 (Bad) ...

The Good: The supporting cast was amazing and it's a shame that it was a wasted effort. Ed Westwick (Tybalt), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Benvolio), and Christian Cooke (Mercucio) especially stood out. Paul Giamatti as the Friar stole the show and you simply couldn't wait until it got back to his scenes.

The Bad: The leads were awful, which just can't happen in an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. I expected better from Steinfeld who in her young career has shown a lot of potential, but she was especially stiff. The film also doesn't stay true to the source material and omits key lines from the play. That decision left me scratching my head.
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