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"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. From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life."
Modern adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet by Baz Luhrmann. It notably updates the setting to modern Florida (in a mythical modern American/Hispanic city called "Verona Beach"), but keeps most of the original dialogue from the play.
Of course, most of the tropes which apply to Romeo and Juliet also apply to this film.
This film contains examples of:
- Ambiguously Gay: Mercutio.
- Black Best Friend: Mercutio.
- Black Dude Dies First: Mercutio.
- Camp: Guess who? Especially when he's performing in drag at the Capulets' party.
- Car Fu: Romeo vs. Tybalt.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Montagues wear Hawaiian shirts while Capulets mostly wear summer suits and bulletproof vests bejazzled with Catholic iconography.
- Dawson Casting: Originally the 14 year old Natalie Portman was cast as Juliet, but the director thought that the much older Leonardo DiCaprio looked like he was "molesting her", so the 16-year old Claire Danes was hired instead.
- Death Wail: Juliet forgoes her final speech for one of these.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Romeo and Juliet die in the same positions they were in just after they had sex a couple of nights before.
- Elevator Going Down: During the ball scene.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Radiohead's song that plays over the end credits is named "Exit Music (For a Film)".
- Faux Symbolism: Water as the overarching motif (the first shot of Juliet is of her face underwater, the lovers meets across an aquarium, the balcony scene is reset in a swimming pool, Tybalt dies after toppling into a fountain, etc), along with ubiquitous Catholic symbols. And even the director is not quite sure what all of it is actually supposed to mean.
- Finger-Twitching Revival: JUST as Romeo is preparing to drink the poison!
- Gun Fu: This particular version of the Shakespearean play is pretty big on the gunplay, both in the opening scene and in the shootout between Romeo and the cops near the end. Interestingly, guns in this movie are given the names of swords, since the Shakespearean dialogue is almost completely intact.
- Happier Times Montage: Shown after their mutual suicide.
- Have a Gay Old Time: Drag queen Mercutio plays up the potential for this in his lines wherever possible.
- Hollywood Kiss: Guess who?
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Baz Luhrmann's William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet
- Interplay of Sex and Violence: Romeo and Juliet die in the same pose as their post-coital embrace.
- Irony: The slogan for the gas station which gets blown up in the opening gunfight is 'Add more fuel to your fire'.
- Knight Errant: Romeo is dressed up in armor at the Capulet's party and he calls himself a pilgrim who has traveled to the shrine of Juliet.
- Large Ham: Half of the cast just can't seem to resist the ham. The hammiest of all is definitely Mercutio though.
- Lucky Charms Title: "Romeo + Juliet" rather than "Romeo and Juliet."
- Masquerade Ball: The Capulets' party is more like a costume party, though.
- Meet Cute: Instead of going the Dance of Romance route, this adaption has Romeo and Juliet meet from opposite sides of a fish tank in a giggle-inducing scene.
- Mind Screw: Romeo takes drugs before the party and sees Tybalt kissing his own aunt, Mercutio singing in drag and the room spinning. This film is by Baz Luhrmann, so it should be expected.
- Mistimed Revival: Juliet wakes up just too late to stop Romeo killing himself. This adaptation makes the timing almost unbearable.
- Modesty Bedsheet: Juliet wears one the morning after she sleeps with Romeo.
- Mushroom Samba: Mercutio gives Romeo a hit of "Queen Mab" (ecstasy) before the party.
- No Indoor Voice: About half of the dialogue is screamed in an apparent attempt to make it more exciting for younger audiences.
- Noisy Guns: Romeo finds himself looking down the barrel of a double-barrelled shotgun... accompanied by the sound of a shell being pumped into the chamber.
- Oh Crap: Romeo, in a dramatic moment that doesn't occur in the original play.
- Phony Newscast: The prologue is reinterpreted this way.
- A Plague on Both Your Houses: From Mercutio, of course.
- Pretty Little Headshots: Juliet's suicide.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Capulets and Montegues are differentiated this way, with the Capulets being angry and sharply dressed, while the Montegues are more clownish and wear casual Hawaiian shirts.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Romeo goes on one after Mercutio dies.
- Rule of Cool: Half of what Tybalt does can only be described as this.
- Say My Name: "JULIEEEEET! JULIEEEEEET!"
- Secret Stab Wound / Mortal Wound Reveal: Mercutio, after being stabbed, pretends his injury is not that serious.
- Setting Update
- Skyward Scream:
- Romeo, on realising Tybalt's death and its consequences. "I AM FORTUNE'S FOOL!"
- Also 'THEN I DEFY YOU, STAAAAARS!'
- "A plague, ON BOTH YOUR HOUSES!" ( Mercutio, right before his death)
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Guess who.
- Star-Making Role: For Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.
- The Gunslinger: Most of the characters use guns, but Tybalt in particular gives this impression.
- Twenty Minutes Into the Future: The setting is twenty minutes into the future of the late 1990s.
- Under Crank: Used for stylistic effect
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Benvolio primarily, but most of the Montague boys can't seem to button their shirts.
- Wet Sari Scene: Both Juliet (wearing a white dress no less) and Romeo fall into her pool in the balcony scene. Romeo later gets drenched by rain after leaving Juliet's room.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: What happened to Paris? In the original story he was killed by Romeo, but in this version, he disappears without explanation. This makes the Prince's line about losing "a brace of kinsmen" make no sense.
- Woman in White: Juliet until after losing her virginity. She also dies wearing a white dress as well, and when they first meet, she is wearing a white angel costume.
- World of Ham: The film is basically Shakespeare reimagined in an overwrought 90s style.