Friday, July 27, 2012

Book vs. Movie: Romeo and Juliet

Hey it's Owyn here again. For this week I'm going to compare the iconic play Romeo and Juliet with the 1996 movie version with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.


DISCLAIMER #1: There are probably spoilers. But if you haven't read this or you are unfamiliar with the plot then what rock have you been living under for your entire life?
DISCLAIMER #2: I know it's not exactly a book but it's still an iconic piece of literature. Do you want me to retitle this blog series as "Literature vs. Movie"? It doesn't have the same ring to it.

Like in my To Kill a Mockingbird post, I have been assigned R&J to read at school and because of all my different schools, I have read it twice.
The first time I read it was when I was in seventh grade. All the teenage girls in my class were gushing and squealing about how "this was the greatest love story ever" and "I want to find my Romeo." Same thing happened when I read it again in ninth grade.
It takes all my restraint not to face-palm so hard that my hand flies through my face.
This is not a love story. Well it is kinda, but it's not a good one. A 17-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl meet, kiss, decide they're in love, get married, kill four people (occasionally indirectly) and then kill themselves. All over the course of four days. That's not love, that's practically Vegas.
Obviously those girls did not read it or didn't read it well. 
When I was in the summer after eighth grade, I saw that the Leo DiCaprio version was on Netflix. I had nothing better to do so I watched it. While watching, I mainly thought about how cute Leo was until he got older. And now I'm here, telling you the differences and my opinions.

The movie is set in modern day, not the day that it was written.
The Capulet and Montague parents don't have first names in the play
The fighters have guns in the movie, when in the play they have swords.
I don't recall Romeo doing acid in the play
Mercutio was a lot creepier in the movie (personal opinion)
In the movie, Juliet wakes up immediately after Romeo has taken the poison and they have one last exchange, but that did NOT happen in the play.
They cut a lot of the Nurse's lines (probably for time) and ruined the character.

The Nurse: A Rant by Owyn the Intern
I loved the Nurse in the play; she's my favorite character. She was funny, charming, awkward, necessary to aiding and abetting horny teenagers, and sentimental when she needed to be. My favorite scene is when Nurse kind of betrays Juliet and tells her that she should marry Paris so there is no need for trouble. And it was devastating to Juliet because the Nurse was always there to support her, especially when Lady Capulet wasn't. And that blow wasn't nearly as harsh in the movie. It made Juliet's actions be of those of a rash teenager's, but I think they were trying to prove that they were in love, not horny. So that kind of angered me.

Which did I enjoy more?:
Hands down, no hesitation I liked the play more, even with Leonardo DiCaprio being heart-stoppingly gorgeous in the movie. Now I must admit that I wasn't that crazy about either of them. The whole love-at-first-sight thing just makes me want to commit myself to a mental hospital shouting "IT ISN'T REAL! IT ISN'T REAL!" But if I had to choose between the two, it'd have to be the play because you just can't disrespect my Nurse like that!

Which do you think was better? Leave a comment with your opinions!


  1. I just wanted to say that I agree with you on all accounts, and thank you for pointing out these differences. Although I recognized those same difference, I just about rolled off the chair laughing where you wrote, "I don't recall Romeo doing acid in the play!" ROFL!
    Thanks for putting this out here. :-)

    1. Aww, thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed! -- Owyn the Intern