didn't enjoy this much at all - Romeo and Juliet set in a private military school in the US. I felt all the actors were trying to hard to be earnest. No thanks
Based more on Joe Calarco’s ‘R&J’, than on Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Private Romeo is well done incorporating contemporary dialogue, video and song together with Shakespeare’s text. Ok, it’s not faithful to the Shakespearian version and liberties are taken, which are adventurous and risky. It makes no attempt to enhance its basic premise with special effects; rather it allows the Shakespearian text to work and the performers manage it well. More attention should have been paid to metre as that carries meaning, in my opinion, and some meaning is lost by, I suspect, seeking emotional authenticity. This is a movie where you need to concentrate as the actors switch from character to character without changing costume but they are all believable and committed.
This could be seen in two lights: another rendering of the bard in a modern setting (as per Richard III or Titus) or a very mature gay movie. Either way this is the standout of recent (as at June 2012) US gay releases. Although it’s a gay take on R & J it is true to the written text (i.e. in Shakespearean language), and although it's not the full play it picks the important scenes and gives them an ultra modern look and feel. The actors are men's men (no drag here) but are respectful to the genders of the characters. I can't say that this would be useful to those studying R & J but I learnt a lot about a play I didn't really know. I've added the Zeffirelli version to my list.