One of the oldest and most well-known tragic love stories about the young lovers from rival families who fall for each other and ends in terrible circumstances. “For never was a story of more woe, than this of Juliet and her Romeo” . . .
So basically everyone who goes into the cinema to watch this film already knows exactly what is going to happen and when, even knowing all of the dialogue as well. This means it is going to be looked at in such a way that everything needs to be perfect, each performance needs to come off the screen and really hit home. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen but I will get more into that later in this review. I want to start on a positive note.
Starting with some positives I loved how they took it to be set in Italy and the visuals and scenery really did look fantastic and breathtaking at times. A brilliant way to really set the scene, and the balcony (so much is set around this) was pretty incredible. This must have been a good start when filming began, really making it feel like a different time and place.
That however was not enough to make sure everything went well for the film. I mean I thought Douglas Booth was a good Romeo and he certainly had the looks as well as the way he delivered the lines to really pull it all off. However, I thought Hailee Steinfield was a little lost as Juliet and not beautiful enough to really pull it off, especially opposite Booth. I hate how horrible it sounds but they aren’t matched up very well, and that is what Romeo is first attracted too. So I think at that moment when their eyes first meet we feel that something isn’t quite right.
The performance that annoyed me the most and I thought was terrible had to be Damian Lewis as Lord Capulet his delivery of some of the lines were laughable and more like a comedy instead of serious and made him more of a laughing stock of the whole thing. He just did not fit in at all in my opinion and was just awful at trying to deliver the emotional scenes.
Paul Giamatti was another I felt was miscast he has done many different roles very well, but did just not fit as a Friar and having to be taken seriously in the part he plays to help the young lovers marry and trying to help them to eventually be together. I was a little surprised to see him cast to begin with in a Shakespeare based film.
After those negative thoughts on some of the performances I am going to say that I really enjoyed Lesley Manville as the nurse and thought she really was just brilliant. Very over the top and passionate about looking after Juliet from the very first moment. The scene after she goes to find Romeo was absolutely brilliant and made you smile with her reactions.
They did slightly change the ending and had them actually speak to each other before Romeo’s poison kicked in and I don’t really think that was needed the best way should have been to keep it how it actually was. I liked the use of the sword fights as well as really thought that helped with the whole setting the scene and the costumes were very good as well.
With what seemed to be a good idea of a new version, too many miss castings in key roles set this film up to fail. At my local Cinema it is finishing today after only starting last Friday so it really hasn’t worked with the audience. Shakespeare really is the most difficult challenge for actors and must be difficult to get into, the way the language is and how the plays are written must be difficult to bring alive now, well that’s what this film has helped to prove. Although the fact that they have changed so many of the lines has not helped either, why try to change Shakespeare’s words . . . this changes meaning!