Romeo and Juliet is a story going back hundreds of years. There have been multiple adaptations of this William Shakespeare story into films over the years. Most notably the 1996 version directed by Baz Luhman starring Leonardo Decaprio and Claire Danes and the 1968 version directed by Franco Zeffirelli with music composed by Nino Rota of The Godfather trilogy fame. Rosaline is a different take on this popular story.
Rosaline (Kaitlyn Dever) is head over heels for Romeo (Kyle Allen) They are madly in love with one another. They are young adults who live separately with their parents at each of their estates in Verona, Italy. They plan to run away with each other and get married. The problem is their relatives are deeply at war with each other. These two families, the Capulets, and the Montagues have hated each other for many years. They would never allow this marriage to happen. Then something strange happens and Romeo falls in love with another woman Juliet (Isabela Merced) That complicates things for Rosaline.
The writers of Rosaline Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber infuse this tried and true story with a breath of fresh air. Having them add the perspective of Rosaline to this story makes it more interesting. As the viewer, we see her struggles with love and relationships but we also see that she is a good person and wants the best for Romeo and Juliet despite her feelings on the matter. It works very well in the context of the film.
Besides the three leads in the movie, there are also a few other key characters that shine in their performances. Minnie Driver plays a nurse who is like a conscience for Rosaline. She helps her make good decisions despite her better judgment. Dario (Sean Teale) is a navy seaman who comes home to Verona for a while and Rosaline’s father (Bradley Whitford) tries to set him up with her. He gets wrapped up in this whole love affair as well. This movie has some other fun characters as well.
With this film being a period piece set in the time the story was written it has to have a lot of production value and hair & makeup along with costumes that are of the time period. It does just that and these characters all look the part of people they are playing from this era. And the sets look real and the buildings look authentic as well. I was instantly drawn into this film the moment it started. Everything came together nicely in the end.
Even though this story has serious nature involving love and list love it also has a lighter side to it. The play I’m sure wasn’t super serious either so the fact that there is a more comedic side to the movie makes sense. It is a Disney-inherited film that didn’t hurt either. This is a Disney spin on this popular IP so it works as a princess type of thing as well. There were a few characters that were pretty funny to watch when they appeared on screen at various
Rosaline is a fun, partly comedic but mostly serious take on a popular William Shakespeare story. Even though it has been done before, the director Karen Maine and the writers have changed it up just enough for a modern audience but also kept the meat of what made this story so special in the first place. The acting by everyone is fine but like always Kaitlyn Dever steals the show as the title character. The below-the-line categories are all on point and fans of this story, young and old, will surely like this 20 Century and Hulu version of the story. I sure did!
3 ½ stars
Dan Skip Allen