Last night I sat down to watch Romeo and Juliet for what has to be at least the 10th time. I’m revising for my GCSEs and I figured I could count it as ‘revision,’ plus any evening spent watching Leonardo Di Caprio write poetry on a beach is an evening well spent. So here’s my thoughts on the film-
I think it’s a really great adaptation. It’s true to the play, and it doesn’t try to mess around with the original language a great deal. I also think that the chemistry between Leonardo Di Caprio and Claire Danes is brilliant, and they’re both excellent actors.
I thought that the Prologue was really well done. I love how it’s said in a dramatic way, whilst incorporating the kind of generic newsreader type voice we all know. The little flashes of what is to come at the start are also really clever.
I noticed that at the start, the director has made sure to create an environment that is very superficial. The hot, Mexico beach setting does this perfectly, with the fairgrounds and scantily clad women, and the dodgy looking people lining the beach strip. Then when Romeo meets Juliet we see a change- there’s a background of churches and Juliet’s beautiful house and bedroom.
I love how Claire Danes isn’t absolutely drop dead beautiful, but has a kind of clean, natural beauty about her, and doesn’t wear huge amounts of make up, making her seem young and fresh. I also love Harold Perrineau’s portrayal of Mercutio- he’s got the flamboyancy of his character dead right, but he’s also got a bit of an edge. There isn’t a single bad actor in this film.
In general I really like the little details that have been put in. For instance, Romeo and Juliet’s costumes at the party are both classic, but they’re surrounded by people dressed as devils, egyptians and drag queens. This makes them stand out.
The death scene is done really well- I love just how close they came to being together- Juliet is literally awake just as Romeo takes the poison, and watches him drink it. The ending image of them lying together is so beautiful and tragic, and it finishes everything fantastically.
I could go on about this film/play for a very long time, but that would be tedious to read. I’ll just end by saying that it’s a great film, and if you haven’t seen it, you should! Here’s the IMDB link- http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117509/