‘Rosaline’ Review: “Old Story, New Tricks”
We all know the story right? Romeo and Juliet are from two opposing families living on two different sides of town with a lot of history and grudges between the two. Both sides look down upon the forbidden love and the two star-crossed lovers end up dead. Sad. However, given that we live in a world of spinoffs, reboots, and reimaginings of classic tales, what if that’s not how the story has to end? With its latest release, Rosaline, the folks over at Hulu attempt to answer that age-old question of ‘what if?’.
Let’s set the scene: Rosaline (Kaitlyn Dever) is a member of the Montague family who begins the story head over heels in love with Romeo (Kyle Allen). After a few nights of romance, Rosaline suddenly finds herself being ghosted. The reason for Romeo’s sudden disinterest? You guessed it: her cousin Juliet (Isabela Merced). Additionally, Rosaline is perpetually being set up on random dates with suitors. Eventually, she lands on Dario (Sean Teale) as the most pleasant option. Together, the quartet demonstrates solid chemistry and allows the story to play out through their antics.
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Throughout the film, Rosaline attempts to drive a wedge between Romeo and Juliet in hopes of getting her man back. Dever’s unique brand of charisma shines through as her character manipulates Juliet into thinking Romeo is not worth her time. Whether it involves the world of lonely men at the bar to get free drinks from or literally feeding lines to Juliet, Dever’s wit is perfectly designed for this kind of character. The film went through various stages of casting and production before finally landing on Dever, but it’s clear she dove headfirst into the role and totally makes it her own.
Outside of the story, the film’s production design is stunning. Having to tell a period piece comes with extravagant outfits and lavish sets, all of which serve as a vibrant backdrop for the story. The world in which these characters live feels bright, colorful, and more importantly real. From the costume design to the sprawling landscapes, Rosaline does not feel like it takes place on a backlot set. It gets plenty of room to breathe and explore as the story slowly spins of out Rosaline’s control.
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What could have been a tired retelling of the same old story, Rosaline provides a fresh perspective through the gritted teeth of a woman scorned. The performances, matched with the exquisite sets and costumes, come together to tell a modern iteration of the story. Strapped with a firey heroine that is sure to resonate with moviegoers and become an overwhelming fan favorite, Rosaline is a hit, championing a relatable person’s journey through self-discovery. – Christian Hubbard
Rosaline will release on Hulu Friday, October 14th 2022.
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