Romeo and Juliet (2013)
By S. Jhoanna Robledo,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Teen-friendly take on Bard's classic has spark, little soul.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Revelry during celebrations.
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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.
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Where to Watch
Based on 5 parent reviews
One of the "tamer" versions of Romeo and Juliet
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Lives up to expectations
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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.
Talk to Your Kids 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?
- In theaters: October 11, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: February 4, 2014
- Cast: Damian Lewis, Douglas Booth, Hailee Steinfeld
- Director: Carlo Carlei
- Studio: Relativity Media
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Book Characters
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some violence and thematic elements
- Last updated: May 20, 2023
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Where to Watch
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