Romeo and Juliet
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -2 1/2

Surreal, psychedelic and shocking describe this version of Shakespeare's famous story of two star-crossed lovers. Set not in old Verona, Italy, but in today's Verona Beach, California, Romeo Montague (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet Capulet (Claire Danes) are children of rival families. As the film opens, violence reigns as gangs from each faction have declared war, tearing the city apart. Shakespeare's words, such as "Romeo, art thou mad? I will make thee think thy swan a crow" spoken by tattooed thugs, are rather disconcerting. The motorcycle-riding Montague gang hangs out on the beach, while the Capulet mob represents the affluent side of town. The Capulets have a huge masquerade ball at their garish mansion decorated with endless statues of the Virgin Mary. Sensitive, romantic Romeo crashes the party and meets the innocent, glowing Juliet as she tries to avoid the festivities. It's love at first sight, but we know tragedy looms around the corner. DiCaprio and Danes give outstanding performances, but overall, this ROMEO AND JULIET will disgust traditionalists and have the Bard spinning in his grave. Garish replicas of the Madonna are everywhere, even on handles of handguns, and gang members are adorned with crosses. A huge black cross tattooed on a drug-dispensing priest's back and numerous turquoise neon crosses in the cathedral mock the church. Catholics, particularly, will be offended by this sacrilegious symbolism. Gunfights, fiery gas tanks exploding, and ruthless beatings result in violent deaths and bloody injuries as the gangs confront each other. Even gentle Romeo turns violent as he seeks to avenge his friend's murder by killing one of Juliet's cousins. Romeo also willingly takes a pill that induces a psychedelic "trip" of bizarre images. After the two lovers secretly marry, they are shown in bed together with nudity and sex implied. There are no other sex scenes; however, girls appear on the beach in bikinis and Juliet's mother is shown in brief underwear. A black transvestite performing lewd movements further emphasizes the amoral society portrayed. In fact, this classic love story has been turned into an angry, ugly look at a violent society. How dare Hollywood exploit Shakespeare's work to express their sickness.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: 20th Century Fox, P.O. Box 900, Beverly Hills, CA 90213

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Few (3) times -- All Exclamatory
Violence: Many times--Moderate and Severe (gunfights resulting in bloody wounds and killings; car crash, fiery gas tank explosion)
Sexual Intercourse:
Nudity: None; near nudity few times (couple covered by sheets; girls in bikinis, woman in underwear)
Homosexual Conduct:
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (subtle references to sex)
Drug Abuse: Few times (boy takes psychedelic drug, priest gives girl drug, boy buys lethal dose of drugs; some smoking)
Other: Teenagers
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Roman Catholic church ridiculed, images of religious icons u

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