Film seen during the 2021 Sundance Film Festival
Skin-deep emotions and the intensity of feelings always in hyperbolic spheres describe both the love of youth and the writing of Shakespeare. Still at the height of pain and euphoria, they both have a lot more in common than we might ever say. And teen drama R # J does this unusual – yet precise – combination of extremes that have never looked so alike. Bringing an impeccable account of the classic romance Romeo and Juliet, Carey Williams makes his film the most original version of the world’s most famous tragic love story.
Turning his gaze to the high-tech contemporary, Williams reiterates the timelessness of the British playwright and writer, with the story of doomed love at the end. Here, the main social media of our time are deployed as narrative instruments to capture the plot, in a creative perspective directly inspired by the acclaimed thriller Buscando…. But R # J addresses the teenage passion for angles of this generation itself, mixing lively conversations and visuals from WhatsApp groups, with likes and comments in Instagram posts. Everything is seen through their eyes and the way they see the world – obviously always with a smartphone in hand to record everything.
Impeccable in its screenplay, the teen drama manages to be even bolder, with a performative script that unites contemporary slang with wacky archaic English – which guarantees Shakespeare’s imprint in an original and brilliant way. Amid powerful speeches that paraphrase and spice up some of Romeo and Juliet’s best snippets, R # J is an immersive and enjoyable kinesthetic experience and guarantees a differentiated freshness to this classic, as it is built as an authentic story about socio-cultural differences, immigration and community.
With a black Romeo (Camaron Engels) and a Latin Juliet (Francesca Noel), R # J is not that film that forces representation for commercial purposes, but adapts Shakespeare’s tale in a deeply current way, taking the painful love affair in the atriums of gang fights divided by race and neighborhood, and disagreements between families who relocate and displace an entire local community. Intriguing and captivating, the drama makes the Shakespearean experience something different, giving audiences the feeling of being first confronted with the story of Romeo and Juliet.
Always showing how versatile the classic period continues to be, the production knows how to hold our attention and our breath, bringing us to the level of intensity of the characters. With a well-adjusted and precise staging and editing, the feature film features an incredible costume, which flirts with current fashion, while playing with diverse and textured fabrics that refer to Romeu + ‘s costume design. Juliet, by Baz Luhrmann. With performances that navigate between dramatic caricature – Shakespeare’s traditional signature – and the softness and lightness of natural performances, R # J is a totally invigorating look, which renews the breath of one of the greatest tales in history.
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