Film Review – Rosaline (2022)

films, reviews

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really bothered about a film this week. I just found went onto my various streaming services and found something quick. Although, I’d definitely have watched this at some point. I mean, it’s literary, there’s major teen comedy vibes and it stars Kaitlyn Dever in the title role. There’s so much to get me interested. Of course, we all know that Romeo and Juliet isn’t my favourite Shakespeare play but I guessed this film wouldn’t exactly celebrate it.

Do you remember how crazy everyone went when Frozen subverted the classic Disney princess narrative by commenting on how mad it was for Anna to agree to marry Hans? You get the impression that Rosaline wanted to do the same thing for Romeo and Juliet but wasn’t daring enough. So, it tends to walk the same sort of line as the original while also trying to ridicule it. How can you make fun of Romeo and Juliet’s relationship at the same time as Rosaline is falling in love with a man she barely knows?

Although, I will say that this is an enjoyable enough film. It’s not exactly original but it does the story well. It also doesn’t make the mistake of trying to emulate Shakespearean language. Yes, there are the odd moments but the cast mostly talks like the characters in every other teen movie. This is Shakespeare for Gen-Z and I didn’t mind it. Something I wouldn’t have believed before I’d watched it. Of course, as a millennial, I was rolling my eyes over some things but that’s a generational thing. I don’t blame the film.

As far as the story goes, it’s quite fun. It goes along the lines of The Lion King 1½ or Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. We see the plot from the original play through the eyes of a side character. This time, it’s through the eyes of Romeo’s ex, Rosaline. After being unceremoniously dumped for her cousin, Rosaline plots to destroy the star-crossed lovers’ relationship and win back her man. Unfortunately, her father is trying his hardest to marry her off to whichever man will take her.

So, it’s all very familiar but it has the benefit of a strong leading lady. Kaitlyn Dever is a lot of fun and manages to breathe plenty of life into the script. I can’t imagine this working with many other actors. It also as something to say about the role of women in Shakespearean society. It’s similar but not quite as effective as Catherine Called Birdy at pointing out the restriction. At least it tries. Rosaline was much better than I imagined but I can’t pretend it’s a great film. It won’t have the staying power of other teen Shakespeare adaptations like Cluesless or 10 Things I Hate About You but it might be worth a watch.

4 thoughts on “Film Review – Rosaline (2022)

  1. I’ve never enjoyed Shakespeare enough to watch “alternate takes” on his stuff. I feel like I’m doing a good enough job just to get through his stuff at all 😀

    Glad you enjoyed this though, eye rolling and all 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I get that. I was introduced to Shakespeare by some great teachers so I’ve always really enjoyed his work. I’ve dragged plenty of half-hearted people to plays over the years.

      Although, I don’t quite believe that he’s as relevant a literary figure as we’re meant to believe. The fact that everyone is so keen to modernise it is evidence of that.

      Liked by 1 person

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