Romeo + Juliet (1996)

Romeo and Juliet
Directed by Baz Luhrman
Written by William Shakespeare
(number 235)

I am such a sucker for a great opening sequence. This is one of the best opening sequences that comes to mind when I think about my favourites. It was certainly my favourite and blew my mind when the movie came out in 1996. The mix of updated media (tv news/magazines) and the epic music and the flurry of images leaves you in no doubt about the setting of this movie and it leaves you pumped to watch it.

I think I saw this a few times at the cinema. I’d studied the play the year before even in English class. It still wrecked me. Baz Luhrman’s ability to draw real, raw emotions from his actors and then get in close with the camera so you’re directly feeling them is legendary. The characterisation is all spot on, I mean, how can you not feel for poor old Dave Paris, he had no idea all this drama was going on? (Also holy crow Paul Rudd hasn’t aged AT ALL)

I was a big fan of Strictly Ballroom, so I was pleased that this movie counts as part of the ‘red curtain trilogy’, completed several years later with Moulin Rouge. I love all three of those films and it was my first ever DVD boxed set purchase!

Also best soundtrack ever. Who was a teen or older in the 90s and *doesn’t* own this soundtrack? So much amazing music.

I’m sure the sound effect says ‘brief’ when Tybalt drops his cigarillo into the petrol an it catches into flame. So sure. Does anyone else hear that? I also love the other references to other Shakespeare plays peppered through it and how clever is it to make the guns named after swords and daggers? It’s so clever.

Does it make me love the people? Tiny baby heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio and tiny baby Claire Danes? Oh yes, I love them a lot. I love Benvolio and Mercutio and the priest played by Pete Postlethwaite as well. Yeah I always get at least a little teary, the performances just feel so real.

Bechdel test: Yes, because Juliet and her nurse talk about how the nurse is sick, but then she doesn’t have a proper name – just Nurse. Juliet and her mother speak often, frequently about Paris and her father but traditionally Mrs Capulet doesn’t have a name. It passes though because in this version she is Gloria Capulet and there’s the whole ‘please don’t spurn me’ ‘eh, I’ll have none of you’ exchange. If you accept Nurse as a named character then she speaks to Gloria about Juliet as well.

Best line:
Friar Lawrence: Holy Saint Francis, what a change is here!, Is Rosaline, whom thou didst love so dear, so soon forsaken? young men’s love then lies not truly in their hearts, but in their (pause) eyes.

Captain Prince: All. Are. Punished.

Best song:

To you I Bestow ~ Mundy

State of Mind: I really love this movie, every single time. I feel like I should probably watch Moulin Rouge and Strictly Ballroom soon too, maybe.

Watched movie count

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