Young Shakespeare fans can jump for joy as the newly adapted Romeo & Juliet will knock your socks off. This fairly traditional period piece offers a modern take on the classic story, with alterations to the original dialogue to make it easier to understand for today’s audiences. Douglas Booth stars as pretty boy Romeo who falls in love when he lays eyes on the beautiful Juliet Capulet, played by Hailee Steinfeld. As fate would have it, Romeo happens to hail from the Montague family — sworn enemies of the Capulets. The two young lovers find it hard to stay apart and plan to marry before Juliet is given away in an arranged marriage to a man she barely knows.
The ceremony is performed by Friar Laurence (Paul Giamatti), who hopes the union will help bring the feuding families together. But when Juliet’s cousin Tybalt, played by Gossip Girls‘ Ed Westwick, challenges Romeo to a duel, things take a turn for the worse. Romeo’s cousin Mercutio, who accepts the challenge on Romeo’s behalf, is killed and Romeo gets his revenge when he kills Tybalt. This tragedy has bitter consequences for the couple.
This version caters to a new generation who may be unfamiliar with previous adaptations and who enjoy watching current actors taking on the familiar roles. Hailee delivers her dialogue with grace and innocence. No other actress could have been more perfect to portray the gentle and emotional Juliet. She complements her counterpart Douglas, who seems to appear straight out of an ad campaign. In addition to his good looks, Douglas manages to carry out the role of a star-crossed lover with ease. Although the iconic balcony scene may have not been picture-perfect, we can give them brownie points for the attempt. Young romantics will be able to digest this adapted piece, which is kept simple and conservative. Special Blu-ray features include Cast and Crew, The Filmmaker’s Vision, Creating the Look and Hair and Makeup. ~Marriska Fernandes