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Romeo + Juliet

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United States, Mexico · 1996
2h 0m
Director Baz Luhrmann
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, Jesse Bradford, Vondie Curtis-Hall
Genre Drama, Romance

In director Baz Luhrmann's contemporary take on William Shakespeare's classic tragedy, the Montagues and Capulets have moved their ongoing feud to the suburb of Verona Beach, where Romeo and Juliet fall in love and secretly wed. While the film is visually modern, Shakespeare's dialogue is left untouched.

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What are people saying?

Ricardo Rico Profile picture for Ricardo Rico

This is a very unique Shakespeare adaptation, and a strange viewing for someone like me not at all familiar with Shakespeare's work and only aware of the Romeo and Juliet story through its constant pop culture presence. Being unable to really comprehend the dialogue didn't end up being much a hindrance because the music, acting, editing and general over the top production more than made up for any uncertainties I had about what kind of emotions were being conveyed at any given moment.

What are critics saying?


Slate by

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.


Washington Post by Desson Thomson

The movie, a frenetic, explosive experience full of car crashes and gun battles, is original and exhilarating. But more often, it's so overwhelming, it'll make you want to watch "Die Hard With a Vengeance" for peace and quiet.


ReelViews by James Berardinelli

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."


The New York Times by Janet Maslin

Mr. Luhrmann's frenetic hodgepodge actually amounts to a witty and sometimes successful experiment, an attempt to reinvent "Romeo and Juliet" in the hyperkinetic vocabulary of post-modern kitsch. This is headache Shakespeare, but there's method to its madness.


Austin Chronicle by Marjorie Baumgarten

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.


The A.V. Club by Noel Murray

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.


Rolling Stone by Peter Travers

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.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

I have never seen anything remotely approaching the mess that the new punk version of "Romeo & Juliet" makes of Shakespeare's tragedy.


Salon by Stephanie Zacharek

It would be destined for the trash heap of Shakespeare adaptations, if not for its female lead, and its heart, 17-year-old Claire Danes.

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