Romeo + Juliet

Critics Consensus

Baz Luhrmann's visual aesthetic is as divisive as it is fresh and inventive.

72%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 64

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 571,981
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Movie Info

The classic Shakespearean romantic tragedy is updated by director Baz Luhrmann to a post-modern Verona Beach where swords are merely a brand of gun and bored youths are easily spurred toward violence. Longtime rivals in religion and business, the Montagues and the Capulets share a page from the Jets and Sharks of West Side Story when they form rival gangs. Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) is aloof toward the goings-on of his Montague cousins, but after he realizes that Juliet (Claire Danes) is a Capulet at the end of one very wild party, the enmity between the two clans becomes the root of his angst. He relies heavily -- and with serious consequences -- on his rebel gender-bender of a friend, Mercutio (Harold Perrineau Jr.), and Father (not Friar) Lawrence (Pete Postlethwaite) for protection and support. Romeo is, of course, exiled, and it looks like Juliet will be forced into an arranged marriage with the bland Paris (Paul Rudd). It ends, as Romeo and Juliet must, when Romeo hears a tragic piece of misinformation and brings his suicide wish to what was meant to be Juliet 's temporary tomb. This time, though, the turf and the weapon of choice have taken a turn toward the surreal. ~ Tracie Cooper, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Romeo + Juliet

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (19) | Fresh (46) | Rotten (18)

Audience Reviews for Romeo + Juliet

  • Oct 08, 2015
    This version of Romeo and Juliet holds up surprisingly well after so many years. The production is full of fantastic verve. Even where it is bad, it is not embarrassingly, but rather comically, so. The actors display great vitality that suits this tragedy very well.
    Robert B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 23, 2015
    Despite the flashy style and some questionable casting choices, Luhrmann finds ways for a story, that everyone already knows the ending of, to resonate on a serious emotional level by the end.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 06, 2013
    Even with my dearest Leonardo DiCaprio in it, I don't think I liked it. And I don't think Shakespeare would have been glad to see this. It was a daring but failed attempt to recreate his masterpiece.
    Maymay A Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2012
    What do you get when you take a 4000-year-old play, which is divisive in its own right, and make a flaccid update for the MTV generation? You get "Romeo + Juliet", an embarrassing misfire from a talented cast and crew. I won't bother going over the finer plots points, since most of us have had to read it at some point in high school; I'd rather focus on the film as its own entity. Unfortunately, bad decisions are abound from the start. For example, the choice to transplant the action to present day "Verona Beach" but keep the Shakespearean language intact is a frustrating one - in my opinion, if you're doing a complete update from the ground up, have the balls to update the script in modern prose so there isn't such a disconnect. Other qualities of the film are given the half-hearted effort, from the acting (too much shouting, not enough emotional resonance) to the photography (can someone put the damn camera on a tripod so we can see what's going on?) to the editing (it feels like a wannabe "edgy" rock/punk music video), everything hoes awry. To be sure, director Baz Luhrmann has a unique visual style, and DiCaprio and Danes have both gone to solidify themselves as more-than-competent actors, but this outing is anything but competent for all involved. Skip it.
    Matt F Super Reviewer

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