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Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

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5.8

Mixed or average reviews- based on 13 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 30
  2. Negative: 10 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Oct 10, 2013
    80
    It’s well-staged, well-acted, all the right people die in the end. It comes down to, well, Romeo and Juliet, really, and Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld prove capable in the title roles.
  2. Reviewed by: Mary Houlihan
    Oct 10, 2013
    63
    Despite the filmmakers’ best attempts, the latest screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragic love story Romeo & Juliet lands with a dull thud.
  3. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Oct 10, 2013
    60
    This version is never rough, nor rude, nor boisterous, but for first-timers, perhaps wisely and slow is the way to go. There will be time enough for them to discover cinema’s superior adaptations anon.
  4. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Oct 9, 2013
    50
    It’s all tasteful and polished to a fault, but it feels like exactly what it is: an abbreviated version that preserves the high points, zips past the rest, and never approaches the depth of the full text.
  5. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Oct 11, 2013
    40
    It has a sort of soapy reliability, but compare it to the blazing passion of Baz Luhrmann's modern-day version with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danesin gangland LA and it looks pretty feeble. Plus, the liberties taken with the text mean that it might not even be all that suitable for school parties.
  6. Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    Oct 10, 2013
    38
    This Romeo and Juliet is hard to take seriously - and simply hard to take.
  7. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Oct 9, 2013
    20
    It’s all rote, dashed through, and somewhat detestable.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Oct 18, 2013
    10
    This movie was simply breathtaking. The score is original and I quickly found myself enraptured in the beautiful sets and time period of Romeo & Juliet. Although, young actors the delivery was incredible. Everyone should see this gorgeous rendition of such a timeless love story. Expand
  2. Jan 19, 2014
    9
    Although not 100% faithful to the original text, this is an excellent, and accessible, Romeo and Juliet. Acting, cinematography, locations, and mood are excellent. Some critics have found the small additions or edits of Shakespeare's dialogue troubling. Indeed, if you seek a purist version, this one will not be satisfying. However, if you want rich and saturated color, fetching performances by the leads and an excellent supporting cast, sumptuous locations and sets, all capturing the essence and beauty of this story of star-crossed lovers, you likely will appreciate this film very much. Although serviceable, the music did not come close to the Zeffirelli version (1968). Excellent production. Expand
  3. Feb 14, 2014
    9
    People these days won't bother to check out classics, but waste their time on nonsense stories rather enjoying a classic one. Every classic needs a GOOD remake so these generations would differentiate the excellent from awful. The re-imagining of the tragic classic tale/play is just wonderful. These young actors prove that they are perfectly capable to flawlessly carry out such important roles in cinema history without distorting their image, because Romeo & Juliet (2014) is one of the best. Expand
  4. Oct 30, 2013
    6
    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 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.
    Expand
  5. Oct 13, 2013
    5
    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 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
  6. Oct 18, 2013
    5
    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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