Baz Luhrmann stole (and possibly shattered) our hearts 20 years ago with his version of Romeo + Juliet. Such a tragically beautiful film all around that put a modern spin on an ancient yet groundbreaking tale, Luhrmann took us on an unforgettable, vivid journey of the most famous play to date.
Released one year before Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio had already won every girl’s heart across the globe when Romeo + Juliet hit theaters in November of 1996. The film performed astronomically well, making close to $150 million worldwide with a budget of just $15 million.
Impressive performances were all around. DiCaprio’s version of the speech at Juliet’s funeral was so moving that actress Claire Danes actually started crying. Leonardo DiCaprio’s and Claire Danes’ first day on set was shooting the topless scene the day after the wedding. Awkward much? But the pair’s on screen chemistry definitely made the movie what it was. I don’t think another actor or actress could have pulled it off.
The soundtrack and score of Romeo + Juliet was simply astounding and contained beautiful music. I remember listening to it over and over again. My favorite was “Kissing You” by Des’ree. The song perfectly fit the mood and scene it was in. Various artists contributed, including Garbage, Radiohead and Everclear.
Perhaps the most memorable part of the film aside from the emotional acting and moving score was the films visual appearance. The direction and cinematography took us to a stunning, cultured and tragic place by taking the words of the story and turning them into something tragic yet magical.
Twenty years may seem like a long time, but like the epic love story the film is based on, Romeo + Juliet will continue to captivate for many years to come.