Romeo and Julliet vs. Romeo + Juliet vs. Romeo & Juliet

I wanted to do something that I’ve never done before. Try to compare the original play “Romeo & Juliet” by William Shakespeare, “Romeo + Juliet” a movie from 1996 by director Baz Luhrmann and “Romeo & Juliet” from 2013 by director Carlo Carlei. All three, completely different, but also so much alike.

I can understand why people have tried to make movies about Romeo and Juliet. It’s a beautiful yet tragic story about two star-crossed lovers who eventually kill themselves in order to be together. How much we can learn from this story.

The first encounter I had with Romeo and Juliet except from learning about it in english at school, was watching Romeo + Juliet from 1996 with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes. It was a modern take on the old play, where they had put in modern day, but with keeping the old lines. Where swords were replaced with guns, and Romeo’s somewhat clean looks were replaced with a young DiCaprio who smoked and appeared like a total badass.

My second encounter was Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare was published in 1597. That’s 418 years ago. The language was for me a little problematic, but as I read through it I always tried to reread the lines in order to get a second opinion on it. After a while, I learnt the differences between modern english and english then. I learned the way they placed words and what the different words meant. Eventually it was easy, and when it became easy I fell completely in love.

And my third was Romeo & Juliet with Douglas Booth and Hailee Steinfeld from 2013. A movie I recently saw, mostly because it was Douglas Booth who played Romeo. This movie taken directly from the book, punctual and direct. Totally different from Romeo + Juliet.

I can't compare these three in a matter of specialism. I don’t know much about the original work of William Shakespeare, and since I’ve only read it once, I’ve come to the conclusion that I like the book for its authenticity. It’s the real deal. The two movies though give this completely different view on the book. All the actors and actresses in both movies fit perfectly with what I saw when I read the book, and because of that I can’t say that I either hate or love either of them. But the thing about Romeo + Juliet with Dicaprio and Danes is that it gives this completely different look upon what I have always seen as a boring play. Making it modern really works, it makes it more relevant and realistic. Maybe even a more perfect way of using the play in education.

Romeo & Juliet had some differences from the first. In this movie, the light hair of Claire Danes was replaced with the brown hair of Hailee Steinfeld. Both of them stunningly beautiful and perfect Juliet’s. And DiCaprio’s somewhat dirty and blonde hair was replaced with Douglas Booth’s full and brown hair. In other means, they look totally different. I feel as if the movie with DiCaprio is more realistic, more real and therefore it is my favorite, of course, right after the movie.

What I loved about all three of them, is that they all portray the love story that has been used in so many different stories, the names have the connotation to this exact play. It’s one of the most famous stories ever, and I think that’s important to remember while watching the movies, I think it’s important that to really understand the story, you need to read the book. I think that whoever you put in the roles of Romeo and Juliet, never will fulfill the expectations we have after reading the book, and I think that even though I love both movies, the one taken into the modern world has so much more meaning.


★★★★☆Romeo + Juliet (1996)

★★★☆☆Romeo & Juliet (2013) 5/10

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