I heard once that when writing a script, whether is for stage or screen, the single key to the project’s success or failure success or failure is the script.
William Shakespeare, in all of the years that he wrote and with all of the plays he wrote, never wrote a bad play. Romeo and Juliet is one of his most famous works. It has been adapted countless times over the years and has been a staple of an English teachers curriculum for generations.
Anyone who had read my blog knows that Downton Abbey is one of my favorite television. As far as I am concerned, Julian Fellows can do no wrong as a TV writer (though some of the story lines in season 2 are a bit questionable, which is another topic for another time). That being said, and please pardon my French, Julian Fellows, what the f*ck did you do to Romeo and Juliet?
I cannot blame the cast. Romeo (Douglas Booth) and Juliet (Hailee Steinfeld) are both age appropriate and have reasonable chemistry, in addition to having the proper amount of romantic teenage angst. Ed Westwick, as Tybalt plays his part very well. Juliet’s parents, Lord Capulet (Damien Lewis) and Lady Capulet (Natascha McElhone) are well played, along with the rest of the cast.
The problem, itself, is in the screen play. Some scenes are missing and some have been added. The fact that it was filmed on location in Verona does provide a sense of reality. It was a valiant effort on the part of the filmmakers, but unfortunately, the movie fell short of my expectations.