Does This Romeo And Juliet Clip Do Shakespeare's Language Justice?

I’m not sure how to properly convey how alienated I am by each look I get at Carlos Carlei’s upcoming adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for Relativity Media. I’ll crap all over a kid’s movie and a terrible action comedy, because I can fit myself into those demographics without too much trouble. But I am completely frozen by teen angst when I watch the clip seen above, via Yahoo! Movies, and I can't be the only one

I’m still weary of the dialogue butchering done in Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes’ screenplay. Not that I see Fellowes as the butcher, but I don’t understand adapting a Shakespeare play and only meeting the source material halfway when it comes to the dialogue. Though I’m no elite Shakespeare enthusiast, Romeo and Juliet is my least favorite of his works that I’m familiar with, and I always hope that each rendition gives me something that wows me to accompany the dialogue. For all of the ways in which Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 modernization Romeo + Juliet diverged from the plot, it maintained much of the Bard’s words in a truly badass setting. You can watch a thousand movies to get a plot that resembles a Shakespeare play (which were mostly versions of preexisting stories), but it’s the precise language that makes them unique.

And so watching this pretty classic scene, where Douglas Booth’s hooded Romeo spouts off in shadow, standing next to a fountain that is also spouting off in shadow, I’m not entirely convinced that this guy even likes this girl. Perhaps it’s because this scene isn’t nearly as overly theatrical as most of the footage in the trailers. A lack of Paul Giamatti’s stern hollers is enough to make any scene feel lacking. And maybe it’s because I’m not very familiar with Booth’s work and haven’t quite worked out his appeal yet beyond having a handsome face. But I can't imagine him being the "Romeo of my generation," as lame of a title as that is.

The same goes for Hailee Steinfeld as Juliet, really. She was great in True Grit, and she looks like she can handle the unrequited lover role with ease, but it’s all just my 30-year-old male conjecture until the entire film comes out and proves me right or wrong. Let me know if you guys think I’m justified for being wary, or if I’m just a stuck-up non-romantic for not swooning along with these star-crossed lovers. Wherefore art thou, those who have my back?

I’m saying it right now, though. If the most exciting part of this movie is watching Booth and Ed Westwick get into a sword fight, I’m going to also get in on that poison drinking business.

See glimpses of that scene in the trailer below, along with looks at the rest of the star-studded cast, including Damian Lewis, Natascha McElhone, Stellan Skarsgård, Christian Cooke, Laura Morante, Tomas Arana and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Romeo and Juliet will lovingly hit theaters on October 11.

romeo and juliet poster

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.