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Most helpful customer reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful.
Lovely production that is worth seeing.
By Marcy G.
I am a firm believer that there are many ways to re-tell a story, and whether a story or book may have been adapted before, others come up with their own version that is fresh and different and worth seeing. So while I have seen (and love) the 1968 version with Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting and enjoyed the modern-day revisionist version by Baz Luhrmann, I found myself also enjoying this new version very much.It is worth noting that the screenplay was penned by British screenwriter Julian Fellowes (Oscar-nominated “Gosford Park,” “The Young Victoria” and that lovely gem of a mini-series “Downton Abbey”).The cast is comprised of both respected veterans (Damian Lewis, Paul Giamatti, Stellan Skarsgard, Lesley Manville) and young, up-and-coming actors (Douglas Booth, Hailee Steinfeld, Christian Cooke, Kodi Smit-McPhee).The sets are sumptuous (all of the filming was done in Italy and the Italian landscape and architecture are themselves stars in the film) along with the beautiful costumes.It should be noted that this film is not a copy of the 1968 version. It stands on its own – some scenes are presented differently than the 1968 version; other scenes are brought in that are not in previous versions and vice versa. In addition, if you are a Shakespeare scholar, then please note that the filmmakers had stated from the beginning that they wanted to make a Romeo & Juliet in the classic setting that would appeal to modern audiences. So if you are expecting a word-for-word presentation of Shakespeare’s work, then you will be disappointed. Those looking for a definitive R&J adaptation may be better off renting//buying the 1968 version or going to see the Shakespeare play. In fairness to the filmmakers, this is Carlo Carlei and Julian Fellowes’ version of R+J and they have done a lovely job of it, in my opinion.If I had one little complaint about this version, it would be that Hailee Steinfeld pales in comparison to Olivia Hussey’s Juliet. Hailee doesn’t quite have the command of the language like she did in “True Grit” although credit to her for even trying. Douglas Booth fares much better and is comfortable with the language. He also adds a charm, sensitivity and charisma to Romeo and holds his own against veterans like Paul Giamatti and Lesley Manville. His scene with Friar Lawrence after the fight with Mercutio and Tybalt is one of my favorites. The other actors do well particularly Damian Lewis, Giamatti and Manville and fans of Ed Westwick will likely be curious to see him in a very different role than Chuck Bass.While this version may be one of several already done, it is certainly worth seeing. I enjoyed it and plan to see it again and again so will be buying the DVD/blu-ray. If you have not yet seen any of the R&J films and/or want a more faithful version of Shakespeare’s work, then do not miss the 1968 version because that is still the best. If you are a fan of Shakespeare and/or R&J and are interested in seeing other versions, then this film and the one with Leonardo diCaprio/Claire Danes will offer contrasting perspectives and are both worth watching.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful.
The Best Film Adaptation I’ve Ever Seen
By Lauren Kojis
The story of Romeo & Juliet was never very significant to me, but whatever the play lacked, this film filled in. With a gorgeous soundtrack, well-acted cast ensemble and beautiful background, this movie is not to be missed. I am now in love with the story of Romeo & Juliet. Such intensity, such passion, such beautiful, innocent romance despite the hate pulling it apart. Just stunning. I have been waiting for this dvd to become available since I first saw it in the theater. Flawless.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful.
Hailee Steinfeld is fanstastic.
This adaptation of the classic Romeo and Juliet story is outstanding!!! Not only does young and beautiful Hailee Steinfeld give a excellent and compelling performance, she has the English accent spot on! (She is definitely an Oscar level actress.) Both Hailee and Booth have incredible chemistry. There are no shocking nude scenes, just brilliant acting, and a great cast and production. I would not be surprise this movie will be considered a classic in the future. It was in limited release and most folks in a age of special effects ,shocking images, and non stop in your face comedy or action movies,are not used to the quiet pace of this film. But given the chance, regardless of the critics and folks who just want to bash the cast, this movie shines with a clear and straight forward Romeo and Juliet movie with no gimmicks. There is a nice small surprise in the film….at least to me…a scene every Romeo and Juliet fan always wanted to see IMO…and this movie I think finally does it without changing the tradition of this play. You will have to find out for yourself….and watch the movie..;)
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