Guest / Limited Access /
Romeo and Juliet
Relativity Media
Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth in Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet
Our Rating
1½ Stars - Weak
Average Rating
 
(3 user ratings)ADD YOURSHelp
Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (For violence and thematic elements)
Genre
Directed By
Carlo Carlei
Run Time
1 hour 58 minutes
Cast
Damian Lewis, Laura Morante, Tomas Arana, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Theatre Release
October 11, 2013 by Relativity Media

No one watches a new version of an old story just to find out what happens. And when the story in question is one of Shakespeare's most well-known tragedies, it has to be a little punchy to distinguish itself from the dozen or so renditions that have come before it.

Or at least just very good.

But at best, Carlo Carlei's Romeo and Juliet is a perfunctory retelling in the most necessary of Shakespeare's original words, dripping with ornamentation, including billowy gowns and dainty poison bottles.

Adapted by Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey, Gosford Park) and set in the play's original time and place, this retelling is "more inconstant than the wind" (Mercutio's words, not mine). Some slight changes in the script to condense longer lines come off a bit cheesy when compared with some of the more famous monologues in their full splendor. The camera always seems to be a little far or just a bit too uncomfortably close to the actors' faces.

And there's just too much music: the soundtrack sounds like Narnia sprinkled in stardust, too sweepingly dramatic in scenes where a better option was probably no music at all. Perhaps the problem was Fellowes' penchant for a little extra drama, or the acting, which falls all along the talent spectrum. Or both. Either way, it's sub-Shakespeare.

The iconic star-crossed lovers are played by Douglas Booth (whose last movie was LOL with Miley Cyrus) and Hailee Steinfeld (2010's True Grit). Booth is a model, and he makes sense as Romeo until he starts speaking. His performance was bolstered by energetic Mercutio (Christian Cooke) and a dynamic Paul Giamatti as Friar Lawrence.

But we're supposed to be swooning at Romeo's famous ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Tags:
Browse All Movie Reviews By:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueChristians, Retreating Isn't a Failure of Nerve
Subscriber Access Only Christians, Retreating Isn't a Failure of Nerve
We need a tactical withdrawal to regroup the church for the days ahead.
RecommendedCan ‘The Resurrection of Gavin Stone’ Raise Christian Movies from the Dead?
Can ‘The Resurrection of Gavin Stone’ Raise Christian Movies from the Dead?
The church-friendly comedy aims to replace cringes with laughs—but does it succeed?
TrendingWhy Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Hundreds of Evangelical Leaders Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban
Why Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Hundreds of Evangelical Leaders Oppose Trump’s Refugee Ban
Regardless of court fight’s final outcome, fewer persecuted Christians will make it to America under president’s plan.
Editor's PickChallenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Challenging the Narrative: How Race Complicates the Latest LifeWay Debate
Black Southern Baptists weigh in on the issues around removing Sho Baraka’s album.
Christianity Today
Romeo and Juliet
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

October 2013

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.