Romeo + Juliet (1996) is a modernization of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, directed by Baz Luhrmann. Though it's set in modern day, the dialogues are still true to the play.
Some changes in dialogues are made. For example in the first brawl scene, the play first take the Capulet boys' point of view ("Here comes two of the house of the Montagues"), while in the movie we see it from the Montagues' point of view thus it says "Here comes (two) of the house of the Capulets". Some changes in sequence are also made, but overall the dialogues are very much the exact words written on the play.
|"Good morrow cousin!" - Benvolio (Dash Mihok)|
It is also interesting how we get to see Lord and Lady of the the houses have first names. And, the Swords!
|Tybalt (John Leguizamo) with one of his (gun)swords|
Old poetic English doesn't seem to weigh the movie, it feels pretty natural. I also like how the movie doesn't lose the beauty of "exaggeration" which is always shown in a play. Like the way Tybalt moves with his double swords; it is smooth, exaggeratedly entertaining to watch. Or how Mercutio plays his part.
|"A plague o' both your houses!" - Mercutio (Harold Perrineau)|
The scenes involving Romeo and Juliet are sweet, and having a prior understanding of how they're going to end, it's painfully heart-breaking. The "Kissing You" scene is definitely my favorite.
|Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes) in aquarium scene|
|Kissing You - love theme song by Des'ree|
Towards the end, another substantial change is again made. We won't see Romeo and Paris fighting, thus no Paris' body on the death scene. I personally like it this way, so that it's focused on Romeo and Juliet.
The movie became box office and won several awards, including Danes and DiCaprio for Best Female and Male Performance in 1997 MTV Movie Awards, Best Adapted Screenplay (51st BAFTA Film Awards), and some other more. Also nominated Best Art Direction/Set Decoration at 69th Academy Awards.
All in all, I love this movie. I didn't understand any of the dialogues at my first attempt to watch it due to Shakespeare's choice of words >_< so yeah it is better to read the play first before watching. But once I grasp the story and understand the lines, I can never get tired of it.. :D