Romeo and Juliet (2013) Movie Poster Image

Romeo and Juliet (2013)

Teen-friendly take on Bard's classic has spark, little soul.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Love supersedes hate and anger; it finds a way to rise above the fray.

Positive role models

Romeo and Juliet are devoted to one another, and the friar and Juliet's nurse recognize the commitment the two have for one another.


This being in the far past, swords and knives are the weapons of the day, and a handful of characters die from being struck by one during a duel; one is self-inflicted. Much animosity exists between the Montagues and the Capulets, and there's lots of trash-talking (albeit in rhyme). A vicar slaps a man.


Some lingering over a man's bare torso, plus kissing and rolling around under the covers in bed. It's all soft-lighting and gauzy.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Revelry during celebrations.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this not-so-faithful adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is a fairly traditional, straightforward, period piece that will likely appeal to teens. The romance at the heart of it is sweet; Romeo and Juliet's attraction depicted as instant love. There's no swearing but some poison-drinking and swordplay, some of which -- no spoiler here -- ends up in death.

What's the story?

It's the Bard's romantic tragedy for the ages, featuring a swoony, moody, beautiful Romeo (Douglas Booth) who's swept off his feet at first glance by the sweet and gently Juliet (Hailee Steinfeld). But in fair Verona, the Montagues, of which Romeo is a member, and the Capulets, whose jewel is the patriarch's daughter, Juliet, are mortal enemies. The eager Paris wants to marry Juliet, whose hot-headed cousin Tybalt (Ed Westwick), hates Romeo and his cohorts, the fair-minded Benvolio (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and the dashing Mercutio (Christian Cooke). Romeo's confidant, Friar Laurence (Paul Giamatti), thinks there might be a path for happiness for the young couple, with the help of Juliet's nurse (Lesley Manville). But the course of true love never did run smooth.

Is it any good?


ROMEO AND JULIET's titular hero is the stuff of teen dreams; he is made as appealing here as can be. He's an artist (a broody one, too), a heartfelt romantic and impetuous, driven to grand gestures and wearing shirts barely cosseted. Booth fares fairly well with the Bard's challenging lines, reciting them with real-life cadence. It's too bad that his counterpart, Steinfeld, doesn't. She doesn't so much say her lines as mutter them, gobbling up the beautiful poetry. She doesn't shortchange the material when it comes to acting, however. Steinfeld plays it straight and it suits the film well. Booth and Steinfeld may not share a white-hot chemistry, but they are starry-eyed, indeed.

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes wrote this remake, and it's prone to soap opera-ish flourishes. (Director Carlo Carlei doesn't do it any favors, either.) The music is overdone, as are the lingering shots of Booth's handsome face. Fellowes' and his cinematographer's take on Juliet is quite obvious, too; they encase her in a gauzy, dreamy light -- cheap shots that curb the movie's potential. And Westwick's Tybalt seems to relish his role too much. This adaptation of Romeo and Juliet won't break new ground like Baz Lurhmann's did. It isn't lush like Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 version, either. But it's pretty and earnest in wonderful ways, and that's nothing to scoff at.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what made Romeo and Juliet immune to the hatred sown by their feuding families. How would this kind of family feud play out today?

  • Was Romeo and Juliet's love really true love? Or a romanticized, idealized version of love? What is the film's take on it?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 11, 2013
DVD/Streaming release date:February 4, 2014
Cast:Damian Lewis, Douglas Booth, Hailee Steinfeld
Director:Carlo Carlei
Studio:Relativity Media
Topics:Book characters
Run time:118 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some violence and thematic elements

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old November 4, 2013

Can't Wait!

What other families should know
Great role models
Too much sex
Parent of a 8 and 9 year old Written byKatrina_ October 19, 2013

Lives up to expectations

This Romeo and Juliet is exactly what you would expect from the creator of Downton Abby. Gorgeous sets, costumes and light, dramatic music interesting actors, all dialed up to 10. I think the general criticism is that it was not subtle and smootchy, but not really sexy. These seemed like features when taking pre-teens. The two fourth graders I brought were on the edge of their seats at the end and the audience (all teen girls) were totally absorbed. Good entertainment.
Parent Written byAnnapolis13 November 2, 2013

Sweet and Touching Movie! Finally a movie I could see with my daughter and not be embrassed.

We loved the movie! Best version of the Romeo & Juliet, I have ever seen. The other movies do not develop the characters or relationships as well as this movie did. The characters are believable. The scene where the marriage is consummated is tastefully done (unlike most movies). The kissing will quite intense, but they are passionately in love. But it still was a bit over the top for me.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence