Review: Not so starcrossed about “Rosaline”


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TRL’s Eleanor Koehn reviews the new movie “Rosaline.” While the movie attempts to create a new angle, most of the comedy falls flat.

“Rosaline,” a supposed comedic retelling of the Shakespearean classic “Romeo and Juliet,” was released exclusively on Hulu on Oct. 14. Claiming to have a modern twist on the play, “Rosaline” follows the story of Romeo’s ex Rosaline, who is only briefly mentioned in the real literature. 

The basis of both the Shakespearean play and “Rosaline” are the same. Set in the Italian village of Verona, there are two large feuding families: the Montague family and the Capulet Family. These families have been fighting for centuries and even go as far as wearing opposite colors (blue for Montague and red for Capulet). Rosaline belongs to the Capulets, while Romeo belongs to the Montague family. 

The movie sets off showing an undercover relationship between Romeo and Rosaline. Because of the fighting families, they must keep their love secret and private. Along with her relationship with Romeo, Rosaline’s father repeatedly tries to find her a husband with every man in Verona that is not a Montague. Rosaline knows that her relationship with Romeo cannot be secret or hidden forever, and with the impending “doom” of a husband creeping up, she proposes running away with Romeo. Romeo agrees with this proposition and off-handedly remarks about how Rosaline will care for their children. Rosaline suddenly becomes uncomfortable with this idea, and this is where the movie begins to spin away from it’s long time predecessor “Romeo and Juliet.”

While Rosaline declares that Romeo is the one for her to her friends, it is obvious to anyone watching that she wants more. She wants to be a cartographer and travel the world, and Romeo wants to settle down immediately. The rest of the movie showcases her internal battle, ultimately coming to terms that she doesn’t love Romeo. 

In the trailers and previews of “Rosaline,” they show the most “hysterical” moments of the movie. But if you think the entire movie will replicate those comedic additions, you would be mistaken. I would not even classify this movie as a comedy. It falls flat in just about every joke, leaving the audience expecting more. The jokes they do have are overplayed and frankly immature. A rowdy bar scene, an overly sarcastic lead that hates everything, and a “dumb cute” romantic interest, are all examples of the overplayed tropes that “Rosaline” was compiled of. 

And if you were wondering ‘Well, maybe the lack of comedy was made up for in a unique plot twist or storyline…’ think again. The story line in this movie was unoriginal and while it is different from the original tale of “Romeo and Juliet,” that doesn’t mean it is not similar to a multitude of romantic comedy plots. When I watched the movie, I was immediately reminded of the Pride and Prejudice retelling “Emma.” Both movies had a shockingly similar story; a plotting girl who overly inserts herself into her friend’s life and then finds love of her own when she least expects it. Additionally, the amount of movies that are based off of “Romeo and Juliet” are insurmountable: “Romeo Must Die,” “West Side Story,” and even “Gnomeo and Juliet.” If the writers really wanted to make their mark, simply making the plotline “more modern” wasn’t the option. 

Luckily, “Rosaline” was not dropped in theaters, and is free to stream if you have Hulu. There is no harm in watching the movie if you are curious as to what “Rosaline” is all about. But overall, this movie falls flat in both the plot and the humor. 


Rating: 5/10