Romeo + Juliet

Movie review by
S. Jordan Mattos, Common Sense Media
Romeo + Juliet Movie Poster Image
Optically brilliant, violent update of classic.
  • PG-13
  • 1996
  • 120 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 51 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The violence of this adaptation does an excellent job of obscuring the message of peace at the root of the story.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Predominant figures commit murder, aggravated assault, and glamorize violence through the use of decorative, threatening weaponry and fashion. Romeo makes a vengeance killing; the two protagonists take their own lives.

Violence

Bloody gangster-style shoot-outs, gun-play, car assaults, murder, and suicide.

Sex

Frank and demonstrative sexual humor and innuendo, Romeo and Juliet share more than a couple of passionate kisses.

Language

Dialogue is classic, expletive-free Shakespeare.

Consumerism

Heavy simulations of brand names and products.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Smoking, drinking. A priest imbibes unspecified experimental potions. Romeo swallows a tablet of Ecstasy.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film features a considerable amount of blood, violence, and explicit references to sex. Prostitution, brief nudity, teen sex, gang-related deaths, car assaults, bloody fistfights, and a gangster pointing a pistol directly at a child's face, makes this film inappropriate for kids under the age of 17. There's a strong emphasis on guns that can easily be seen as glamorization: characters sport decorated pistols and fashionably threatening jewelry (skull rings, dagger belts), not to mention an ad for bullets. Background scenery makes much use of billboards, posters, and license plates designed to mimic soda, liquor, and cigarette ads.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8 year old Written bycone March 18, 2011
Parent of a 14 year old Written byTsion June 13, 2010

Entertaining but Shallow.

There are two movie versions of ROMEO & JULIET. One is a banal '68 adaptation with boring schmaltz and graphic nudity. Another is this '96 i... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLadylollipop1 April 26, 2011

Ignore the 16+

I'm confused why everyone is saying it should be 16+, if it should be 16+ then why is it rated 12a? There is no blood (well a very small amount) no nudity... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byshanno15 March 16, 2010
Had to watch it in school last year when i was in 9th grade, good movie, kind of an weird adaptation though

What's the story?

Against the crumbling backdrop of political and social hierarchy, a chance meeting through a neon fish tank at a masquerade ball begets a desperate pact of love between star-crossed lovers Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes). The well-to-do Capulets have chosen Paris (Paul Rudd), a dashing but dull TIME magazine cover boy, heir to glitzy Verona Beach, to wed Juliet. However, it's Romeo, son of the rival Montague clan, who captures her heart. The vengeance-seeking broods of both families clash during a deadly beachfront shoot-out. Sadly, the couple's final reunion ends in devastation for both families.

Is it any good?

Director Baz Luhrmann's whirling dervish adaptation of the classic tale of ROMEO + JULIET is replete with glowing surfaces, quick-cutting action, and a soundtrack that bites. This is Shakespeare for Generation X, Y, and Z. Any teenager growing up in the mid 90s will attest to the unbeatable hipness of this movie. Neon crucifixes, dazzling skylines, and festive fireworks literally light up the screen in this film. The real electricity, however, lies in the chemistry between Danes and DiCaprio. There is not a single element of the production unaffected by Luhrmann's restless mercurial bravado, including the acting, wardrobe, and set design. Thankfully, the transported text survives the transition between eras, due to the director's attention to detail.

The film's bouncing soundtrack, MTV-style cinematography, and all-star cast will have teens begging to see Romeo + Juliet. Parents are cautioned against permitting tweens and under to view this film due to its extreme violence, gross materialism, and sexual innuendo. And it is best if parents accompany their kids who are allowed to view this graphic retelling of the classic.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about issues such as conflict-resolution, peer pressure, and their alternatives.

  • What could the Montagues and Capulets have done in order to make peace?

  • Were there alternatives to Romeo and Juliet's choices?

  • Did they truly believe suicide was the only way, and if so, what circumstances in the film drove them to feel this way?

Movie details

For kids who love sweeping romance

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