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Movie Review: Romeo & Juliet

_MG_6659.CR2A classic love story, retold through the decades with new visions, actors, settings and even time periods. But for director Carlo Carlei’s most recent adaptation, it stays true to the original story. Seeing how the film was adapted by Downton Abbey creater Julian Fellows, the script is elegant and poised without becoming too confusing however seeing how many younger audience members will be attending this film due to the fresh young actors chosen for the title roles and the visually appealing and romantic marketing campaign along with the intriguing tag line: “The most dangerous love story ever told.”

The young actors who were chosen for the title roles are Hailee Steinfeld, in her first feature length film since 2010’s True Grit, which landed her a Best Supporting Actress nomination, and newcomer Douglas Booth. The two present a sweeping and beguiling relationship that, even though there have been countless adaptations of this story before them, still feels fresh and exciting. This comes with a lot of help from the way that the film was shot by cinematographer David Tattersall. When both Romeo and Juliet are introduced the camera lingers on them for two gorgeous shots that prepare the viewer for a sweeping and lush love story… if only it was not ruined by the supporting actors.

Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis are the respective fathers of Romeo and Juliet, and although they are normally very talented and respected actors (Giamatti has won two Golden Globes and one Emmy; Lewis has won one Emmy and one Golden Globe) their performances in this film are rather lacking when it comes to the necessary emotional depth and power needed for this type of classic and typically moving story. The film also employs a strange sense of comedy throughout which left me confused upon leaving the theater if I should have been sad or happy at the fact that two young characters had just committed suicide within seconds of each other.

The rest of the cast give weak performances that will occasionally make you smile (like Lesley Manville’s sweet performance as Juliet’s nurse) and some will make you laugh, even if that wasn’t the actors intent (Ed Westwick’s lacking performance as Tybalt) and some are just plain forgetful (Stellan Skarsgard’s Prince Escalus of Verona).

Overall the film is held aloft by its its two stars but it was not enough to make it a genuinely good movie going experience. However if you are a sucker for a semi-okay romance movie you will probably be just fine.

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