Film Review: New ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is Almost Passable if You Haven’t Seen It, Unnecessary if You Have

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CHICAGO – When I walked out of my screening for 2013’s “Romeo and Juliet” with Hailee Steinfeld (Oscar nominated for “True Grit”) and London’s Douglas Booth (previously unknown to the U.S.), I had to remember that not everyone’s seen this story in one way or another.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

So, I immediately polled four teenage girls. Batting away their butterflies and seeing through the hearts glossing over their eyes, they unanimously loved it, thought Booth was so very dreamy and went home with a new outlook on love – probably that love conquers all. For their modern-day version, they’d probably even give up texting for 12 whole days if it meant they couldn’t be with their boy crush.

StarRead Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Romeo and Juliet”.

But back to my reality and like most other humans on planet Earth, I’ve seen this William Shakespeare tragedy told mostly the same way through nearly every artistic medium.

Reminiscing to 1968’s “Romeo and Juliet” with Leonard Whiting (Romeo) and Olivia Hussey (Juliet) from director Franco Zeffirelli and 1996’s “Romeo + Juliet” with Leonardo DiCaprio (Romeo) and Claire Danes (Juliet) from director Baz Luhrmann, Steinfeld and Booth have a thing or three to learn from the fire felt between DiCaprio and Danes.

Boothfeld, as I’ll call 2013’s duo, feels like puppy lovers as compared to DiCanes, as I’ll call 1996’s forbidden lovers. You can tell the Boothfelds attempted to pay meticulous attention to their eyes and the way they looked longingly at each other. But their eyes felt manufactured, and ultimately, Booth was more on the right track than Steinfeld.

“Romeo and Juliet” stars Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, Stellan Skarsgård, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Laura Morante, Tomas Arana, Natascha McElhone, Tom Wisdom, Christian Cooke, Ed Westwick and Anton Alexander from director Carlo Carlei and writer Julian Fellowes based on the play by William Shakespeare. The film, which has a running time of 118 minutes and is rated “PG-13” for some violence and thematic elements, opened on Oct. 11, 2013.

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full “Romeo and Juliet” review.

Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth star in Romeo and Juliet
Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth star in “Romeo and Juliet”.
Image credit: Relativity Media, Philippe Antonello

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full “Romeo and Juliet” review.

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