Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Click here to listen to a brand new episode of Ink & Paint as Daniel discusses the groundbreaking classic 'One Hundred and One Dalmatians'!x

ROMEO + JULIET

20 YEARS ON

RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Kate Smith
30th October 2016

High school English students will either rue or worship this date. 20 years ago today, Baz Luhrmann's 'Romeo + Juliet' was unleashed on the world. Both critically acclaimed and derided, it skyrocketed the careers of its two leads, and put Luhrmann well and truly on the international map.

Before 1996, Leonardo DiCaprio was known almost exclusively for playing the title character's mentally-challenged brother in 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape'. Following the release of 'R+J', DiCaprio was cast in 'Titanic', 'The Beach,' 'The Aviator'... you get the drift. By 1996 Claire Danes already had a developing career, but her role as Juliet was her major breakthrough. While she hasn't enjoyed the meteoric rise of DiCaprio, she's still a household name and might not have been had she never played Juliet.

WATCH: 'ROMEO + JULIET'

But the real star of 'Romeo + Juliet' was Luhrmann. In 1992, Luhrmann wrote and directed 'Strictly Ballroom' which is still one of the best Australian films ever made. 'Strictly Ballroom' is the earliest entry on Luhrmann's résumé. A critical darling, it got Baz noticed enough to start on his Shakespeare adaptation that English students love/hate. After 'R+J', Luhrmann directed 'Moulin Rouge' and 'Australia' with Nicole Kidman, and in 2013, reunited with DiCaprio to direct another adaptation: 'The Great Gatsby'. Every one of these films drip with Luhrmann's distinctively lavish and bombastic style. It's a style DiCaprio is particularly suited to.

'Romeo + Juliet' redefined the Shakespearean adaptation. Transplanting the story into a modern world had been done before, and there are dozens of traditional versions. Luhrmann combined both in a way that made it both accessible and still faithful. Keeping the original dialogue and interactions, while also translating the material into something modern teenagers can understand, Luhrmann managed make Shakespeare cool again.

What Luhrmann did was something that combined both in a way that made it both accessible and still faithful.

You could certainly argue that Luhrmann's work inspired 1999's '10 Things I Hate About You' (The Taming of the Shrew), 2006's 'She's the Man' (Twelfth Night') and even Joss Whedon's 'Much Ado About Nothing' among others.

Set amongst the backdrop of gang warfare, 'Romeo + Juliet' goes a long way to explaining the concepts behind Shakespeare's play that were difficult to grasp for younger, sheltered readers. This is one reason why it became an English teacher's dream. There's so much in this film that enhances not only an understanding of classical works, but of modern language - Shakespeare penned dozens of phrases we still use today, and hearing them spoken in a context such as this is one of the best educational tools you could find. I wonder how many thank you cards Luhrmann still gets from grateful teachers?

Luhrmann's adaptation entered the pop-culture lexicon and endures there still. Three big players in the film industry owe their success to the quality of this film. In celebration, why not dig out your copy? Just steel yourself for classroom flashbacks.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 01/11/1996
RUN TIME: 2h 0m
CAST: Leonardo Dicaprio
Claire Danes
John Leguizamo
Dash Mihok
Harold Perrineau
Pete Postlethwaite
Paul Sorvino
Brian Dennehy
Diane Venora
Jamie Kennedy
DIRECTOR: Baz Luhrmann
PRODUCERS: Jill Bilcock
Baz Luhrmann
Gabriella Martinelli
Catherine Martin
Martin Brown
SCORE: Nellee Hooper
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Then Came You - A life-changing journey
TRENDINGWIN THEN CAME YOUA life-changing journey
Cosmic Sin - Interstellar battle between humans and aliens
TRENDINGWIN COSMIC SINInterstellar battle between humans and aliens
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
Cosmic Sin - A film that delivers on the promise of its title
TRENDINGCOSMIC SINA film that delivers on the promise of its title
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Raya and the Last Dragon - A solid return to form for Walt Disney Animation Studios
TRENDINGRAYA AND THE LAST DRAGONA solid return to form for Walt Disney Animation Studios
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
Lion - A raw and powerful journey of identity
TRENDINGLIONA raw and powerful journey of identity
Boss Level - Nostalgic action and quirky foes
TRENDINGBOSS LEVELNostalgic action and quirky foes
Then Came You - Then came the same movie over and over again
TRENDINGTHEN CAME YOUThen came the same movie over and over again
Wet Woman in the Wind - A sexy struggle for conquest
TRENDINGWET WOMAN IN THE WINDA sexy struggle for conquest
The Truffle Hunters - Joy and dedication in the dirt of Northern Italy
TRENDINGTHE TRUFFLE HUNTERSJoy and dedication in the dirt of Northern Italy
A Call to Spy - The unknown stories of real-life heroes
TRENDINGA CALL TO SPYThe unknown stories of real-life heroes
Kuessipan - Coming of age story in an Innu community
TRENDINGKUESSIPANComing of age story in an Innu community
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit - A charming and poignant tale of survival
TRENDINGWHEN HITLER STOLE PINK RABBITA charming and poignant tale of survival
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
Jupiter's Moon - Defies gravity
TRENDINGJUPITER'S MOONDefies gravity
Melbourne Queer Film Festival 2021 - The reviews
TRENDINGMELBOURNE QUEER FILM FESTIVAL 2021The reviews
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!