In the city of Verona, two families have a prolonged and ancient feud. The Montagues and the Capulets co-exist under the stern eye of the Prince, but the hatred between the families threatens all, in particular the children. The young men of both families are hot-blooded and ready to fight at any provocation, despite the Prince's edict against such fights. But when young Romeo, a Montague, first sets eyes on the virginal Capulet daughter Juliet, no enmity between families can prevent his falling in love with her, and her with him. From this risk-laden romance comes both joy and tragedy for all.Written by
Jim Beaver <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Damian Lewis is playing Juliet's father, Capulet in this film version. Claire Danes played the title role of Juliet in the previous film adaptation. Both Lewis and Danes star in Showtime's Homeland. See more »
Two households, both alike in dignity, in fair Verona, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge, break to new mutiny, where civil blood, makes civil hands unclean. And, so the Prince has called a tournament, to keep the battle from the city streets. Now, rival Capulets and Montagues, they try their strength to gain the royal ring.
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This is the most recent in a series of Italian versions of Romeo and Juliet which starts with the 1955 film directed by Renato Castellani and the 1968 film directed by Franco Zeffirelli. They are all very pretty and this one is the prettiest, with extremely pretty scenery, a pretty Juliet and an even prettier Romeo.
That's about the best that can be said for it. Fellowes, the screenplay writer, has actually written some new scenes that are not bad examples of blank verse in the Elizabethan style, but they do not have the genius of Shakespeare, and the new scenes don't add much to the story. Replacing Shakespeare's words with his own, which he does far too often, invariably results in poorer and less interesting lines.
Unfortunately, the leads aren't persuading anyone that they are in love, and our attention is drawn instead to some good performances by the supporting cast, especially Damian Lewis's Capulet, which I think is the best performance by anyone as Capulet on screen ever.
So, generally, apart from Lewis, you are much better off watching Zeffirelli's film.
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