Director Baz Luhrmann adapts William Shakespeare’s famous tragic love story for a modern audience in his 1996 novel Romeo + Juliet. The film centers on two powerful Verona Beach organized crime families, the Capulets and the Montecchis. Their intense and longstanding rivalry weighs heavily on their family members, especially their children Juliet Capulet and Romeo Montecchi. Romeo and Juliet are supposed to hate each other, but instead fall deeply and madly in love when Romeo sneaks into the Capulet costume ball. There, his heart and soul instantly fall into the trap of Juliet, whose beauty and elegance make the sensitive Romeo stand in awe of her. 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 a tragic fate.
Although the story is moved to a more modern setting, Luhrmann’s film retains the Shakespearean-style dialogue of the source material. Romeo + Juliet is a compelling and gripping storyline about a doomed romance between titular unfortunate lovers, which is elevated by Luhrmann’s unique creative vision. Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes play the lead roles beautifully, effectively embodying their characters’ intense and youthful romance. They were joined by a solid supporting cast including Brian Dennehy, John Leguizamo, Jamie Kennedy, Miriam Margolis, Harold Perrineau and Paul Rudd. Anyone swooning over Leo in Titanic is sure to do the same as they watch him in this stunning love story that continues to stand the test of time.