Film: William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet

Opened: November 1, 1996

Directed by: Baz Luhrmann

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, Brian Dennehy, Christina Pickles, Dash Mihok, Jesse Bradford, Zak Orth, Jamie Kennedy, Paul Sorvino, Diane Venora, John Leguizamo, Vincent Laresca, Carlos Martin Manzo Otálora, Miriam Margolyes, Harold Perrineau, Pete Postlethwaite, Paul Rudd, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Quindon Tarver & M. Emmet Walsh

Before Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby and Elvis, director Baz Luhrmann would first captivate Americans with his fast-paced and highly stylized ways in a modern version of Shakespeare’s most tragic love story.

When Romeo Montague (Leonardo DiCaprio) hears that his love Rosaline will be attending a party at the Capulet’s, he decides to go. He has a chance encounter with Juliet Capulet (Claire Danes) and they fall in love instantly. However, their romance is forbidden as their fathers are heads of feuding mafia families.

The storyline is already a bit rushed as it happens over three days, but Luhrmann’s frenetic style makes it seem even faster. In doing so, it makes all of Romeo and Juliet’s mistakes even more glaring. Luhrmann’s change to the end is also frustrating.

However, DiCaprio makes the perfect Romeo.

Final say: Parting is not sorrow. ★★★☆☆

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