Downton Abbey’s much loved writer Julian Fellows has adapted William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and this is just latest film version of the world famous play it’s predecessor being Baz Lurman’s adaptation made in 1996. I can’t imagine there is anyone out there who doesn’t know the story but, just for argument sake if you have been living under a rock or, are a defrosted caveman (or woman) here’s the gist- These two are the original star crossed lovers and lets just say it doesn’t end well, for anyone.
Romeo and Juliet (2013)
Romeo and Juliet is my favourite Shakespeare play second only to Twelfth Night so when there is an film adaptation I’m always really hopeful that it will turn out well and although the Baz Lurman (1996) version was different and might not have been for everyone I think most people can agree that the acting was superb and the original text wasn’t changed beyond recognition.
Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes (1996)
First of all I should probably just say (2013) Romeo, Oh My God he is just a beautiful man, and although I am grateful to watch that face in any film should Romeo ever be better looking than Juliet? Romeo goes on and on about how bloody beautiful she is when, actually he looks like some kind of Greek God. Alright, I know this film is probably suppose to be Shakespeare for the Twilight generation or whatever but I’m guessing that the Twilight generation couldn’t give a sh*t about Shakespeare, they get enough of that at school (I’m just guessing).
Mercutio, Romeo and Tybalt
I had two main problems with this film, the first was the changes that Julian Fellows had made to the original text I heard Douglas Booth (Romeo) say in an interview that he had done it to make the film more accessible and I know for Hollywood that makes a lot of sense but if the (1996) Baz Lurman adaptation can use Shakespeare’s text with out interfering with it to such an extent that it’s barely recognizable why can’t the (2013) adaptation? Shakespeare is Shakespeare for a reason and surely Julian Fellows took something away from the film by changing the text so much.
The Secret Wedding
My second major issue with the film was the actors who played Romeo and Juliet although they were both great looking I just didn’t believe Douglas Booth or Hailee Steinfeld as Romeo and Juliet. I felt sorry for them in a way because I was constantly comparing them to Clare Danes and Leonardo Di Caprio and don’t imagine I was alone. I feel that to carry off Shakespeare strong actors are required and neither of these are that, pretty yes, talented, no. Paul Giamatti who played Friar Lawrence was amazing when he walks in on Juliet having killed her self with a dead Romeo in her arms his performance made me cry he really is very talented. Also the Benvolio in this film is very good, I connected with him so much more than I did the (1996) just for these two performances it makes the film worth seeing.
Juliet and Friar Lawrence
All in all, I would say that if you like this story then the film is worth watching, it’s has welcome traditional style of telling the tale but the text changes and some weak actors can be off putting.
All in all a 3.5/5