A masterpiece: a very special and emotionally powerful movie
Words cannot express how much I love "Romeo and Juliet". This is my favorite movie, my one and only cult movie, and by far the most beautiful I've ever seen. I wish I had already been born in 1968 to be able to see it in a theater! I happened to watch it on TV for the first time in 1986 as a little girl, and I just thought that Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey were the most gorgeous people and the best-matched couple ever. Then I saw it a second time about ten years later, and was so impressed by it that I found it hard to sleep that night, and quickly became obsessed with it. It overwhelmed me in indescribable ways, and still does so today. In fact, whenever I watch this movie, it haunts me for weeks, and never fails to make me feel like crying in the end. It's a bit weird, really. I can't get enough of it, yet I don't want to watch it too often, because it moves me so deeply... There's definitely something about it that makes it very special. As a matter of fact, it's the only movie that brings me joy and sadness at the same time. Firstly, this is the definitive version of Shakespeare's play. Forget Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard, this is the real stuff, this is how it was meant to be, bursting with life and passion! Everything seems perfect in it: the sets, the colors and the lavish costumes, the music (there's so much to say about Nino Rota's exceptional score alone!), and the cast of course (not only do we have incredibly realistic and top-notch performances by the two lead actors, but the rest of the cast, including Michael York, Milo O'Shea and John McEnery, is also very good). The extraordinary thing about Leonard and Olivia is that they looked just the way one would imagine Romeo and Juliet, pure, sweet and innocent. Whenever I hear talking about Romeo and Juliet, I can't help thinking about them both. Another extraordinary thing is that Zeffirelli had another actress in mind (with blonde hair!) before he finally chose Olivia after a second test. Neither Olivia nor Leonard were experienced actors, yet they delivered stunning performances. They didn't know each other before filming, but it turned out they had wonderful chemistry on-screen, and definitely set the standard as the perfect Romeo and Juliet. I was not surprised to learn that Leonard fell in love with his co-star during the shooting of the movie. I mean, who could blame him? Nino Rota was a very talented film music composer, but he had never written such a beautiful score beforehand. He was extraordinarily inspired when he wrote this one. Considering all these elements, I think this movie is nothing short of a miracle. Granted, it's an old movie. You can see it was shot in 1968. So what? This doesn't prevent it from being very emotionally powerful. I don't think Zeffirelli could have given a more romantic and poignant rendition of this mythical love story. He filmed the two leading actors with grace and sensitivity, and love has never been better indeed. Besides, I think he perfectly captured the quintessence of the play. What else can I say? I love this movie with all my heart. To me it's a jewel, a work of art. And it has its own universe... it's just mesmerizing.
- May 7, 2005
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