- Romantic Comedy
Fix: Romeo & Juliet retelling, fiery YA heroine, love triangles
Comedic twist on Romeo & Juliet, told from the perspective of Juliet’s cousin Rosaline, Romeo’s recent love interest. Heartbroken when Romeo meets Juliet and begins to pursue her, Rosaline schemes to foil the famous romance and win back her guy.
Back in 2012, FYA Book Clubs around the country read a debut novel from a gal named Rebecca Serle, I dunno, maybe you’ve heard of her?! The book, When You Were Mine, was a contemporary retelling of Romeo & Juliet that focused on Rosaline, the girl Romeo left behind to pursue Juliet. The story was absolutely arresting, the chemistry sizzling.
Fast forward ten years, and we have this adaptation, which shifts the setting back to the Elizabethan era but maintains a modern sensibility. So Rosaline has been spending her nights being wooed by Romeo on her balcony, because she’s a Capulet and he’s a Montague, and their families are at war, yadda yadda yadda. Her father, who really isn’t that bad (at least, for the time), is trying to marry her off, and therefore she misses a clandestine meet-up with Romeo at a masquerade ball because she’s (grudgingly) on a date with a potential suitor, Dario. Romeo meets Juliet at the ball and boom, they fall for each other. OG insta-love y’all!!
Rosaline is understandably pissed, so she sets out to sabotage their relationship, and [insert Shakespeare quote here about best laid plans, etc. etc.].
Isabela Merced as Juliet, Kaitlyn Dever as Rosaline
Kaitlyn Dever is on FIRE right now, and I’m all about it. You may have seen her in Booksmart, Unbelievable, or totally holding her own with Julia Roberts and George Clooney in Ticket to Paradise. As Rosaline, she strikes the perfect balance between a clueless (read: infuriating) teen and a winsome, clever heroine.
It took me a minute to recognize Isabela from Dora the Explorer, which is criminally underrated IMO, as well as Let It Snow. She’s also been cast as Aza in the adaptation of Turtles All the Way Down. Her Juliet is sweet and naive and, okay yeah, a little bit dumb, but she’s strong enough not to seem like a victim (which is key to the audience liking Rosaline).
Sean Teale as Dario
WELL HELLO THERE DARIO. The minute this dude appears, you will have a really hard time understanding why Rosaline is hung up on Romeo because DAMN. He’s British! He’s devastatingly handsome! He’s a skilled fighter, and he respects women! WHERE FOR ART THOU, DARIO is what I’m saying.
Sean was in Reign and Skins, but most importantly, he played Ethan in Little Voice (we were ROBBED of a second season), and now I’m ashamed to admit I was rooting for the other guy because Sean is smokin’ in this movie.
Kyle Allen as Romeo
You may remember Kyle from West Side Story or The Map of Tiny Perfect Things, but I guarantee you’ve never seen him like this. He’s giving us dopey; he’s giving us dumb jock; he’s giving us Travis in Clueless. This is probably the most authentic depiction of Romeo, who I will remind you is a horny teenage boy, ever put on screen.
Rounding out the cast: Spencer Stevenson as a fabulous Paris (I dug him in Never Goin’ Back); Minnie Driver, who deserved more screen time, as Nurse… Janet?!; a surprisingly (and nicely) reserved Bradley Whitford as Rosaline’s dad; and a blustering Christopher McDonald as Juliet’s dad.
Couch-Sharing Capability: All Houses Welcome
This is a cute romp of a movie, so you can easily enjoy it solo or with a couple of pals. Though I do recommend the latter, because you will DEFINITELY want someone you can turn to and say, “Is this girl BLIND?!! Dario is hot AF!!”
Recommended Level of Inebriation: “Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used.”
Rosaline goes down as easy as a chilled glass of pinot noir (don’t @ me, chilled red wine is delicious), and while there are a few throwaway jokes, you won’t miss anything if you’re a little buzzed.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Don’t Bite Your Thumb At It
Sometimes you just want to curl up and watch something a little bit silly, a little bit sweet, a little bit sexy. Although the film lacks the emotion depth of When You Were Mine, it’s still a spirited, winning adaptation of a classic story, and Sean Teale alone guarantees you’re getting your money’s worth.
6 thoughts on “Rosaline”
I watched it by myself, but I still kept yelling at the screen about how crazy Rosaline was for wanting Romeo after she’s met Dario. He’s better in every way!
Exactly, Dario was FAR superior to Romeo in all ways. Sarah, I’m pretty sure we agreed on the hotness of Sean in LITTLE VOICES way back when, but his character’s shitty behavior contrasted with the adorableness of the other guy (in both personality and more puppy-dogish looks) made Sean’s character the wrong choice for HER while being the right choice for our eyeballs ANY TIME. Dear, Hollywood: I would like Teale in more things, please and thank you.
Aside from this obvious plus, the movie was quite cute on its own and had a great sense of humor. I loved Kaitlyn Dever! Isabela Merced is unfamiliar to me but she was so pretty, it was obvious why Romeo was smitten. The writing/directing team managed to strike the right balance between modern-day tone/breaking the fourth wall and the historically bits without falling into whatever mud puddle the Netflix PERSUASION tripped and stumbled into.
Yes! He was hot in LITTLE VOICE but not the right guy for the heroine. But in this movie, HUBBA HUBBA.
Can’t wait to watch this!!!
Hope you enjoy it like I did!