Daniella Cuencas ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor
The plot of age-old Romeo and Juliet is not-unknown. Classically, we are familiar with the characters and their dilemmas: Romeo is trying to get over his romance with Rosalind when he gets sidetracked by Juliet at a party and the ever-feuding and over-controlling Montagues and Capulets forbid the teenage lovers to be with each other.
Aesthetically speaking, the movie is quite pretty: costumes, scenery, and cast, notwithstanding. The story is set in Verona, Italy, and director Carlo Carlei shot it all on location. Because of the rich Italian culture, the film is filled with beautiful artwork, architecture, and weirdly enough, chandeliers. The Swarvoski Crystal Company helped produce the movie which contributed to a minor feel of commercialization throughout the 118 minute duration of the film.
One fault with the film was a lack in the depth of characters. Throughout the film, the audience laughed during serious scenes and did not laugh when comedy was being employed too purposefully. Although the film is nearly two hours, it moved too quickly. It takes a few scenes for Romeo (Douglas Booth) and Juliet (Hailee Steinfeld) to fall in love, but there’s not too much characterization or depth to their relationship.
At the party where they meet, they immediately pronounce their intense love for one another without the traditional interpretation of flirting at first sight. Their love is completely underdeveloped; there is no struggle or getting to know one another. Instead, Romeo and Juliet make out. A lot.
Unfortunately, the lead actors contributed to the shallowness of the film. Both Steinfeld and Booth were good, but could have been better. Neither actor really showed any emotions besides sadness (via constant tears) or passion (via kissing). Due to the narrow spectrum of feelings portrayed, both leads’ performances fell flat.
When a character did try to elicit a more dramatic and rewarding scene, it seemed out of place, as the character development did not enable the reaction to be believable. It was surprising to see such great actors in the film: Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man), Ed Westwick (Gossip Girl), Damian Lewis (Homeland), and Stellan Skarsgård (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). However, even their presence couldn’t save the film.
The cinematography of the film also left something to be desired. The use of the camera was rather singular and seemed to only focus on the actors’ faces. Most shots were super close-ups which was disappointing considering the audience missed seeing much of the stunning scenery.
Overall, the movie was good, but nothing to change your schedule or cancel your plans about. At most, add it to a list of movies to rent.