Saturday, June 04, 2011

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996)

This is a solid movie. While attending a party, Romeo Montague (Leonardo DiCaprio) notices Juliet Capulet (Claire Danes) and is instantly attracted to her. He briefly speaks to her, but then she is whisked off by her nurse to the dance. He is saddened to learn that she belongs to a family who is the arch-enemy of his own kin, but promises to love her anyway. Romeo convinces the local priest to marry them. Afterward, Romeo and Tybalt Capulet have a duel and Juliet's cousin is killed. Romeo flees the city for protection. During his absence, Juliet receives another offer for marriage and with the help of the priest, participates in a scheme to deceive the second man.

Shakespeare created a lot of clever lines. It was interesting to see the old story put into a modern setting, but odd to hear those people speaking Elizabethan words. During filming Danes was 17 and DiCaprio, 21. The film is an abridged modernization of Shakespeare's play and retains the original dialogue. Most of the film was shot in Mexico City and Veracruz, and the Capulet mansion was set at Chapultepec Castle.

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