Romeo + Juliet

Once in a while a director places Shakespeare in a modern setting that cleverly illuminates the themes of the play. Director Baz Luhrmann skillfully reveals the central problem of the tragedy: Romeo and Juliet are the most melodramatic teenagers in history. In this 1996 adaptation, Luhrmann gives us a dreamscape filled with Latino Catholic imagery and druggie masses of candles. Though Claire Danes is by far the more appealing performer, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo is treated as the protagonist of the piece, and the world is presented as a highly romantic young man might see it if he were on a very powerful cocktail of hallucinogens. It may all be silly, but it’s a fever dream of silliness—just like real teenage passion. (PG-13) CLAIRE DEDERER

May 7-13, 7 & 10 p.m., 2009

 
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