Director Baz Luhrmann adapts William Shakespeare’s famous tragic love story for modern audiences in his 1996 romance Romeo + Juliet. The film focuses on the two influential Verona Beach organized crime families, the Capulets and the Montagues. Their intense and longstanding rivalry weighs heavily on their family members, particularly their children, Juliet Capulet and Romeo Montague. Romeo and Juliet are meant to hate each other, but instead fall madly in love when Romeo sneaks into the Capulets’ costume ball. There, his heart and soul are immediately ensnared by Juliet, whose beauty and elegance awe the sensitive Romeo. Their families’ rivalry is just one of several obstacles to their romance as Romeo and Juliet must overcome a series of challenges including Juliet’s arranged engagement, Romeo’s exile and a misunderstanding that will lead them to their tragic fate.
Although the story is placed in a more contemporary setting, Luhrmann’s film retains the Shakespearean-style dialogue of the source material. Romeo + Juliet offers a compelling and compelling tale of the doomed romance between the eponymous hapless lovers, enhanced by Luhrmann’s unique creative vision. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes both provide wonderful leads, as they effectively embody their characters’ intense and youthful romance. They are joined by a solid supporting cast including Brian Dennehy, John Leguizamo, Jamie Kennedy, Miriam Margolyes, Harold Perrineau and Paul Rudd. Anyone who has a crush on Leo on Titanic is sure to do the same when they see him in this ultimate love story that continues to stand the test of time.