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YMMV: William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet

William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet

  • Angst? What Angst?: Juliet's lament upon learning that Romeo killed her cousin Tybalt is shortened in the film, making it seem as though she immediately forgave him upon hearing about it.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The whole Mercutio dance number. Granted, Romeo was high at that point, but it really comes out of nowhere.
  • Chewing the Scenery: The actor playing Captain Prince. He seems to be channeling Samuel L. Jackson, and doing so magnificently.
  • Ear Worm: The entire soundtrack, special mention to the infamously catchy "Lovefool".
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Pete Postlethwaite as Father Laurence, due in large part to his actually knowing how Shakespearean dialogue works.
  • Faux Symbolism: Water as the overarching motif (the first shot of Juliet is of her face underwater, the lovers meets across an aquarium, the balcony scene is reset in a swimming pool, Tybalt dies after toppling into a fountain, etc), along with ubiquitous Catholic symbols. And even the director is not quite sure what all of it is actually supposed to mean.
  • Ham and Cheese: Whether you love it or hate it, the actor playing Mercutio was having way too much fun in his role.
  • Narm: The guns named after swords were ridiculous enough. "Fetch me my longsword!" Cue a shotgun...
    • Made even better by the fact that the full line is "Fetch me my longsword, ho!" He's talking to his wife.
    • Juliet waking from her faked death just in time for Romeo to realize he goofed (it does come across in the acting) did slip from tragedy to black comedy. Her seeing his dead body is also meant to be moving and tragic but is rendered hilarious by Clare Danes' terrible crying.
    • Then there's the occupational hazard of all Shakespearean adaptations relocated to relatively modern times: Elizabethan dialogue spoken in relatively modern times.
    • Romeo losing it at Tybalt right before he kills him. Leo's overacting is almost painful, and it's nearly impossible to understand what the hell he's saying when he's screaming that loudly. The way he yells "EITHER THOU, OR I, OR BOTH MUST GO WITH HIM!" over and over, you half expect Tybalt to shout "STOP SAYING THAT!" And it all culminates in Romeo's hilariously overdone Primal Scream as he unloads his gun into Tybalt.
      • The Swedish version didn't subtitle that. Either the translators didn't find it important enough, or they simply couldn't hear what he was shouting...
    • Mercutio crossdressing in a silver, glittery tube top and miniskirt... Then pulling Romeo's invitation to the party from the bottom of said miniskirt. After seeing that, it's impossible to take his death scene seriously.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Michael plays Mercutio!
    • Hey, look, it's Rotti Largo as Juliet's dad!
    • Paul Rudd plays Paris! Ironically he's one of the few actors in the cast who's actually trained in Shakespeare.
    • Benvolio was featured as the male dancer in an Alanis Morissette video before he was Bunchy Donovan! There's even a scene in the video where he bears a startling resemblance to Tybalt.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • The death of Mercutio.
    • Romeo's reaction to Mercutio's death makes the scene all the more heartbreaking - he holds his best friend's body to his chest, sobbing in impotent fury. Then he stands, holds his head in his hands, then slowly starts running towards his car, ignoring Benvolio's pleads to stop...
      • For that matter, look at Tybalt's face in that moment. As his anger subsides, he looks soberly at what he's done, and you almost want to give him a hug. His life of passion and mayhem just imploded by his own hand, and you can see in his eyes he's stuck somewhere between sheer panic and genuine remorse. Mercutio wasn't who he hated or wanted to see dead, and while him bolting doesn't win him a whole hell of a lot of sympathy, he clearly regrets the deed.
    • The ending, which wouldn't have happened if Romeo had just looked down and seen Juliet waking up.
    • As the camera slowly pans outwards in the chapel of rest scene, with the unbearably sad Liebestod from Wagner's 'Tristan und Isolde' playing as we're shown clips of the pair in happier times.

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