How successful is Baz Luhrman's film as an appropriation of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet"?.
Baz Luhrman's film, "Romeo and Juliet" is a highly successful appropriation of Shakespeare's classic because it reflects the attitudes of its modern context. Furthermore, the modern appropriation maintains the ingenious Shakespearean language and the sense of tragedy that defines "Romeo and Juliet." Luhrman's popular culture film is an innovative approach that brings greater suspense, emotion and reality to the Elizabethan classic as well as makes it accessible and engaging to today's cinema goers. The film examines several contemporary social issues non existent in "Romeo and Juliet's" original context. However, Luhrman's film conveys the values embodied in the play and the impossible love, hate and sorrow that are the essence of Shakespeare's tragedy. .
Baz Luhrman's "Romeo and Juliet" is set in a modern city; a striking contrast to the Elizabethan England of William Shakespeare. Consequently, the attitudes embodied in the film differ from those conveyed in the play. As contemporary attitudes to filial duty, religion and violence have greatly changed from those of sixteenth century England, so does the film's portrayal of them. In Baz Luhrman's production, the acting is extremely stylised and the actors appear as caricatures. The exception is Romeo and Juliet. The two young and beautiful actors that play the roles of Romeo and Juliet do so very sincerely. They appear as genuine, passionate lovers in a world of violence and hatred without reason. Romeo and Juliet seem alive. Their love seems real. Lord Capulet is characterized as being highly abusive and unreasonable. When Juliet refuses to marry Paris, Lord Capulet strikes her and denies her any choice in the matter and Lady Capulet offers no support to her daughter. The harsh portrayal of Juliet's parents in the film leads the audience to sympathize entirely with Romeo and Juliet.