Review Roundup: ROMEO & JULIET Try to Revive a Tale of Love
Romeo & Juliet Review Roundup
Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare's epic and searing tale of love, is revitalized on screen by writer Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) and director Carlos Carlei (The Flight of the Innocent). An ageless story from the world's most renowned author is reimagined for the 21st Century.
This adaptation is told in the lush traditional setting it was written, but gives a new generation the chance to fall in love with the enduring legend. With an all-star cast including Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Paul Giamatti and Stellan Skarsgard, it affords those unfamiliar with the tale the chance to put faces to the two names they've undoubtedly heard innumerable times: Romeo and Juliet. (c) Relativity Media.
Let's see what the critics have to say...
Justin Chang: Variety: "Mileage will vary on this point, but as a rule, no Romeo should be prettier than his Juliet, and from the moment he's introduced - wearing a loose-fitting tunic, looking ready to do something vaguely artistic with a chisel, and pouting like a proud graduate of the Scarlett Johansson School for Full-Lipped Thespians - Booth looks less like a sensitive, ardently romantic youth than the frontman for some Renaissance-era boy band. Given that the two young leads aren't ideally matched visually or verbally, it's no wonder their tragic love story never quite gets off the ground, though the absence of chemistry, much less sexual heat, is scarcely the sole area in which this "Romeo & Juliet" comes up short."
Steven Rea, The Philadelphia Inquirer: "...this Romeo and Juliet - set in Verona, and shot there, too, with its bricks and balustrades, its frescoes and fine light - has been chopped and diced by Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey. There are chunks of Shakespeare's familiar verse, to be sure, but much has been hacked, and the language streamlined and modernized here and there."
Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times: "Though the effort in this "Romeo" is earnest, the film fails to capture the Shakespearean essence of the many tragedies trotted out. The florid and heedless love where feelings are hurt, families are rent, grudges are roiled, social conventions are defied, remains far too polite. This is Shakespeare lite, which ultimately makes for Shakespeare slightly trite. Oh the woe."
Todd Gilchrist, The Wrap: "In stark contrast to other versions of this story that condensed Shakespeare's florid language into digestible bites, Fellowes shows admirable commitment to the source material and yet is remarkably successful at making it feel accessible. Carlei pairs it with imagery that feels suitably theatrical - sweeping curls of dust precede the arrival of Tybalt as he arrives to challenge Romeo - and then guides the actors to find the emotion behind the words."