Review- William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet (1996)

by Nevin Hooper

So far in my series of old movie reviews I have always reviewed good movies. Usually ones I would give a 10/10 or my highest grade of an 11/10. But, since we just finished watching the 1996 Baz Luhrmann remake of the classic William Shakespeare play of Romeo and Juliet, I thought, why not review it? So, on to the review!

If you are not familiar with my reviews, I grade movies like this. I go from a scale of 0/10 (movies that are so bad that they should have never been made), to an 11/10 (movies that are so good, so fantastic, that you just can’t give the average 10/10 grade).

So, since this is a film that I did not especially like, I am going to tell you what I thought was good, what I thought was bad, and what my overall thoughts were of the movie along with my grade.


Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo: I have always been a big fan of Leonardo DiCaprio. He has starred in some of my all time favorite films such as The Departed (2006), Inception (2010), and Titanic (1997). I think he is an excellent actor, and no surprise, he is easily the best part in this film. But, unfortunately he probably gives his worst performance I have seen from him in this film, but on some of the more emotional parts, I thought he did an okay job. It just sounds so weird calling a Leonardo DiCaprio performance “okay”, but that’s how I felt about him.

The usage of color: Probably the only thing I found visually interesting in this movie was the usage of color in this movie. Name off all the most vibrant, and brightest colors you can think of and that color is in this movie. The color choices are so bright and eye-popping that I thought was at least handled well.

That’s where the good points about this movie end.


Claire Danes as Juliet: I did not like her character in this movie at all. I found her character extremely weak and felt like she was lacking something, I never felt her performance was that great and the way she played her character didn’t feel like a Juliet to me. I’m not sure why, but she just didn’t seem like she was playing Juliet in that movie, at least not well.

The screenplay: Look, I have nothing against Shakespeare when I say I hate the screenplay. The film uses Shakespearean language and some actual dialogue from the play. I love Shakespeare’s brilliant writing skills and believe that he is one of the greatest writers who has ever lived, but having his dialogue take place in present day just does not work whatsoever. It came off as weird, extremely unnecessary, and especially awkward.

The acting: Wow, I haven’t seen this much cringe worthy acting in a long time. It seemed like every single line that was delivered from these actors was so awkward and very, very, very cringe worthy, which is very upsetting since the film has a surprisingly good cast.

The direction: I’m just going to go out and say that I hate the director’s style in this movie. His direction was so energized to the point that it made it so everything was so uncomfortably in your face all the time, and many unnecessary shots didn’t make any sense in the story besides “metaphorical imagery.” I did not like Baz Luhrmann’s direction in this movie at all. I know what he was going for with having the film fell as energized as possible, but what was supposed to be exciting just came off as too fast, confusing, and making me want to throw up.


Overall, I did not like this movie whatsoever. Like, at all. I’m sorry for people who actually like this movie, but I did not. Sure, there was one semi-good performance from Leonardo DiCaprio, bright and interesting colors, and very, very, few pretty shots, but other than that, I hated the movie, and shall give it a 4/10.

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