15 July 2012 | jm10701
A stunning marriage of exquisite language and passion, the most nearly perfect Romeo and Juliet yet filmed
I LOVE this movie. I loved it the first time I watched it, and I've loved it even more each of the three times I've watched it since then; it continues to astonish me.
The adaptation of Romeo and Juliet to an all-boys' military academy is very effective, and Seth Numrich (Sam/Romeo) and Matt Doyle (Glenn/Juliet) have the most electrifyingly romantic scenes I've seen in a long time - maybe ever. Hale Appleman (Josh/Mercutio) is riveting, the best actor in a very gifted cast (all of whom are young New York theatre actors who had prior experience with Shakespeare on stage).
Familiarity with Romeo and Juliet will help a lot in following the fast-moving and sometimes chaotic story, and multiple viewings are well worth the time and effort.
Many people who don't like Private Romeo just don't like Shakespeare, which is understandable in a generation raised on reality TV and crap like Avatar and the superhero/action movie that gets remade under a different title several times every year.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, serious devotees of Shakespeare may have a problem with the liberties taken, not only in the male Juliet but in the slightly changed ending; but they cannot fault the amazing spirit of this movie - Shakespeare would be writing an even more glowing review if he were here. For people who love Shakespeare but are okay with free adaptations and low budgets, this is about as good as it gets. Even intelligent straight people may like it.
The "balcony" scene is especially glorious, the most perfect mating of language and feeling I have ever seen; but all four or five of their love scenes are revelations. I wish I had a hundred stars to lavish on this most excellent little movie.
(People who see elements of the defunct "don't ask - don't tell" policy of the US military are projecting their own issues onto the movie, which contains not even the slightest hint of homophobia. The fact that both the lovers are male is in no way the cause of any conflict in Private Romeo. Somewhat as in Shakespeare, it's a rivalry between cliques in the school and has nothing whatsoever to do with the sex of the lovers.)