Look At: ‘Rosaline’ Review: Kaitlyn Dever Grounds Fanciful Spin on ‘Romeo and Juliet’

Before Romeo was smitten with Juliet and wooed her sister, Rosaline, he delighted her beauty to his acquaintances (“The all-seeing sun has never had a match for her since the world was born”) and lamented her denial (“She has sworn to love, and by the vow, do I die and remain to tell the story today”). Romeo’s family invites him to join the Capulet dinner to lift the lovelorn Montague heir from the darkness of his doting and sexy adoration. He is there when he meets Juliet and thus begins their epic love affair.

Efforts have pushed Rosaline away from the background and flesh out a person out of the ghost image. In particular adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, like the one by the work of Carlo Carlei’s Romeo and Juliet(2013), the character is given more than a brief mention. In other adaptations, her appearance is the focal point. Rosaline is a new show premiere in the U.S. on Hulu this October. 14th joins a few films (Sharman Macdonald’s production “After” Juliet, Shonda Rhimes’ ABC drama Still Star-Crossed) which shift the spotlight on Romeo, making his first love the main character.

Produced by Karen Maine, Rosalinerecasts the tale of its character as a palatable coming-of-age story and gives her the outspoken but discolored feminist spirit typical of contemporary Disney heroines. As played by Kaitlyn Dever, Rosaline defies the gender stereotypes that women have been accustomed to during her period in Verona in the city, which is the setting for the film. She’s frank, stern, and quick to fight her dad (Bradley Whitford), who is frustrated by the prospect of finding a suitable partner for his daughter.

To her father’s shock in disapproval and confusion, Rosaline decides to get married in love. At the start of the fast-paced film, the actress, who’s an actress from Capulet who is in secret, is a lover of Romeo (Kyle Allen) of the Montagues. Their fling takes place under the moon’s watchful eye, and Romeo risks being exposed by Capulet guards by revealing Rosaline in her apartment. The mismatch in their personalities can ruin their relationship. While Romeo is a romantic who has no time for impulsive love, Rosaline is a comparatively overthinking realist. When Romeo declares his love for Rosaline and the girl doesn’t be the one to reciprocate.

However, Rosaline, driven by a genuine love for Romeo or a desire for his attention, isn’t willing to let him go. She invites the man she is embarrassed by to join her at the Capulet masquerade ball so that they will rekindle their relationship and repair their lousy relationship. At the end of the celebration, Rosaline’s father arranges for her to be with a different lover, a gorgeous mariner named Dario (Sean Teale). Rosaline isn’t attracted to the man, and her resentment for the equally sharp-tongued gentleman increases when she cannot get to the ball.

Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (the team responsible for the film 500 Days of Summer) write a short and concise story inspired by Rebecca Serle’s “When You Were Mine. Serle’s novel depicts an inevitable triangle of love between Romeo, Rosaline, and Juliet (played in the film by Isabela Merced) as a bitter and violent feud in modern Southern California. Neustadter and Weber are the ones to bring the story to the past, but they don’t make an attempt at resembling Shakespearean manner of writing (the characters speak modern English) -and take a bit of the tension off. Rosaline is in awe of Juliet.

However, her anger is tempered by her growing love for Romeo. Rosaline initially takes her younger cousin to her to convince her to end her relationship with Romeo; however, the two form a bond that causes Rosaline to feel guilt-ridden about her lies. The eventual bond, telegraphed at the start, causes the routine backstabbing to become a drag.

Rosaline uses some other liberties, which add comedy and humor. Minor characters like a spry courier (Nico Hiraga) as well as Rosaline’s nurse ( Minnie Driver) and her best friend Paris (Spencer Stevenson) are given a more rounded appearance and steal the scenes where they’re featured. Pop music selections that are dated set the mood for a relaxed atmosphere and emphasize Shakespeare’s tragic story was actually about horny and impulsive teenagers. (Ironically, the most tedious aspect of the level of Rosaline is Romeo and Juliet, whose relationship is shown off as dull.)

The film turns exciting when we witness our “too pretty and too smart” Rosaline transforms from a jilted lover to a romantic architect. It’s an odd transformation; however, Dever can make watching it enjoyable. She balances Rosaline’s conflicting personality traits — her petulance and impatience mixed with unexpected times of soul-sharpening and recognition. She also maintains her unified character even as the film is shaky.

Love is the main force that runs throughout Rosaline, the main character, one our protagonist learns to realize during the film. The romance she has with Romeo will ultimately be positive instead of loss. She reaches out to the others within her circle — like her mother, her father, and Dario (albeit very reluctantly initially) to assist her in embracing the real meaning behind such a tremendous feeling.

Date of release: Friday, Oct. 14 (Hulu).

Cast: Kaitlyn Dever, Isabela Merced, Sean Teale, Kyle Allen, Spencer Stevenson

Director by: Karen Maine

Screenwriters: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber

Rated PG-13. 1 Hour 36 minutes

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