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to date have been Romeo And Juliet Film Review

Dont Hang Up Philosophy Philosophy Can Make A Movie

Film: Romeo and Juliet
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio & Claire Danes
Plot: Two lovers of rival, disputing families take their lives.
Reviewer: Claire Ginn

Welcome to Verona Beach, a sexy, violent other-world, neither future nor past, ruled by two rival families, the Montagues and the Capulets...
So begins Baz Luhrmanns production of Shakespeare's beloved play, "Romeo and Juliet," from the famous opening line of "Two Households both alike in dignity.." to the tragic end, the viewer is whisked away into the depths of heightened realism in the world of Verona Beach.

Casting includes Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo and Juliet as well as great performances by John Leguizamo (Tybalt) and, Harold Perrineau (Mercutio). Danes brings life to the character of Juliet and reaches far beyond the subservient stereotype of most Elizabethan characters with her ambition and assertion, although she sometimes sounds like a schoolgirl reading lines aloud for a teacher. DiCaprio is not quite as polished and in some scenes you may find him off-hand and whiny, however he manages to capture the depth and thoughtfulness associated with Romeo.

Updated to modern Verona Beach (rather than Verona, Italy), this film has all the pop and zip one would expect from a tale of family feud, star-crossed lovers and bloodthirsty vengeance. It includes a mix of classical and religious imagery. Wide sweeping shots of the city show the destruction and expanse of the Capulet and Montague empires. Lots of music, fast cuts, fantastic cinematography and superb sets and costumes make it the lively tale it was meant to be. These features also make the film somewhat cartoon-like with a lot of heightened realism. Don't expect to see British people prancing around in tights when you rent this one. Luhrmann creates a world where gun-toting youths sport Hawaiian shirts and beachfront brawls are an everyday event.

Purists may hesitate, but the film uses its modern setting to its full potential and should be required viewing for any director who looks to put a modern spin on the 400-year- old play. Capulet and Montague become warring Mafia leaders, the Prince of Verona is a police chief trying to overcome the violence, and television anchors represent Shakespeare's traditional chorus. Other, more subtle narrative devices work equally as well. No modern audience could mistake the significance of the "attempted delivery" post-it that falls off the door, never to be found. This isn't just an update; director Baz Luhrmann has created a savvy exploitation of the film medium that assists the audience with Shakespeares dated language.

Giving the classic play this modern twist makes for a new understanding of the text and brings the feud between the Montagues and the Capulets to a whole new, dramatic level. Shakespeare may be rolling around in his grave after seeing this film, but English classes all over the world can breathe a little easier when it comes time to take the Romeo and Juliet final exam because this new adaptation makes the themes remarkably clear.

If the movie fails in any respect, it's absence of some of Shakespeare's words. Music (although very well suited) sometimes obscures the actors' speech, and the lengthy text has been cut to almost two hours, eliminating some important scenes. Shakespeare movies usually have to undergo alterations to the text, because modern audiences are accustomed to two-hour feature films. But in this version of Romeo and Juliet, these aren't just cuts. This is dismemberment.

Nevertheless, it's hard to criticize Romeo and Juliet too much. With its sheer excitement and visual charge, there's no doubt it will get a whole new group of people (particularly teenagers), excited about Shakespeare, who was indeed a fabulous storyteller.

If you need to see bodices and ruffled collars to enjoy your Veronese tragedies, choose otherwise; but if a boys' choir singing "When Doves Cry" seems the perfect accompaniment to the wedding of two star-crossed lovers, you'll surely enjoy the two hours' traffic of this staging.
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19th Century Women Authors

19th Century Women Authors  

Some of the most influential women authors of all time lived in the 19th century.  These women expressed their inner most thoughts and ideas through their writings.  They helped to change society, perhaps without knowing it, through poetry, novels, and articles.  Emily Dickinson, Harriet Jacobs, Kate Chopin, Louisa May Alcott, and Elizabeth Oakes Smith are the best-known controversial and expressive women authors of their time.
On December 10, 1830 a poet was born. When Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, no one knew that she was to become the most well known woman poet of all time.  She loved her family deeply. Her father was a man of great reverence in Amherst and her mother was an invalid all of Emilys life.  Dickinson had great admiration for her brother Austin.  He married a woman named Susan.
Susan and Emily became very close.  So close, in fact, that it was rumored that they were lovers.  She wrote love letters and poems to Susan.  Some scholars believe that there is an indication of homosexuality found in many of Dickinsons poems.  Emily never married, which did not help diminish the rumors.  Another rumor affecting Emily related to her sanity.  It is said that in her later years Dickinson refused to leave her house.  When company would come to the door she would run upstairs to avoid them.  She only totally secluded herself from adults.  She made gingerbread for the neighborhood children and played games with them occasionally.
No matter what rumors circulated there is no doubt that Emily Dickinson is a wonderful poet.  
There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there.
She expressed her feelings for the loss of her mother, father, and close friends in her poetry.  She refused to believe that Heaven was a better place than Earth and she showed her love of nature in some of her poems.  She found nature superior to society and preferred it.  None of Dickinsons poems had titles.  Many thought this was because she did not want them published.  Many of her poems are dark and mysterious but all are true works of art.  
Emily Dickinson died peacefully on May 15, 1886.  Only ten of Emilys poems were published in her lifetime.   After her death over 1700 of her poems were discovered.  She had bound them into several booklets.  In 1890 and 1891 some of her poems were published.  They received a great response but no more were published until 1955.
A sepal, petal, and a thorn--
Upon a common summers morn--
A flask of dew-- A bee or two--
A breeze-- a caper in the trees--
And I am a rose!
Dickinsons poems are timeless and will always leave one bewildered and amazed.
Harriet Jacobs was born in North Carolina in the early 1800s. Jacobs never realized she was a slave until her mother died when she was six. Jacobs then moved in with her grandmother and her white mistress. The mistress died when Jacobs was eleven, and she was then sent to Dr. James Norcom. Jacobs suffered physical and sexual abuse from Dr. Norcom for numerous years, and she became involved with a white neighbor, Samuel Sawyer, simply so she could stay away from Norcom. They had two children together, Joseph and Louisa. Joseph was born when Jacobs was only sixteen years old.
In 1835, Jacobs escaped from Norcom and went into hiding for seven years. In an attempt to get Norcom to sell her children, Jacobs wrote numerous letters to him, mentioning that she had escaped to the North. She thought Norcom would sell her children if he thought she wasn't coming back, but that never happened. In 1842, Jacobs made her escape to the North and managed to have her daughter, Louisa, sent to Brooklyn to be with her. They then moved to Rochester to escape Norcom, who was looking for her, and joined a circle of abolitionists that worked for Fredrick Douglass's newspaper, The North Star.
In 1853, her employer bought her from Norcom's family, thus releasing her from being a fugitive. In 1863, Jacobs moved to Alexandria, Virginia with her daughter. There they organized medical care for the Civil War victims ... more

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