There’s a new movie in town and it’s on Disney+! “Rosaline” is a fun, lighthearted Shakespeare-inspired rom-com, and I’m giving you the full scoop with my “Rosaline” review (without any spoilers!).
It’s time for Rosaline to tell her story! In this hilarious Shakespeare rom com, filled with wit, female empowerment and truths about being in love, this movie is a so much fun.
As always, I won’t be giving away any spoilers, but you will find the information you need here for your family. Is it appropriate for children? Is it scary (because, you know the ending of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet), and is it worth your family time? I break it down for you.
What is Rosaline About?
“Rosaline” is a fresh and comedic twist on Shakespeare’s classic love story “Romeo & Juliet,” told from the perspective of Juliet’s cousin Rosaline (Kaitlyn Dever), who also happens to be Romeo’s recent love interest. Heartbroken when Romeo (Kyle Allen) meets Juliet (Isabela Merced) and begins to pursue her, Rosaline schemes to foil the famous romance and win back her guy.
As soon as I saw the trailer with Kaitlyn Dever as Rosaline, I knew I wanted to see this movie. Dever is such a great actress, and her witty banter has been something I have loved watching on Last Man Standing for years. I couldn’t think of a better actress for this role.
The story brings in the characters of Shakespeare’s play and gives them a modern interpretation of who they would be now. In fact, Rosaline is a character from Romeo and Juliet, but is never seen and never speaks herself. Instead, she is mentioned by Benvolio, Romeo’s friend. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Romeo begins the play in love and in angst over a woman he loves (Rosaline) but who doesn’t seem to love him back.
Benvolio tries to comfort Romeo by saying:
At this same ancient feast of Capulet’s
Sups the fair Rosaline whom thou so lovest,
With all the admired beauties of Verona:
Go thither and with unattained eye
Compare her face with some that I shall show,
And I will make the think thy swan a crow.
To which Romeo, in anger, replies:
… One fairer than my love! The all-seeing sun
Ne’er saw her match since first the world begun.
Sound a little familiar? If you know the play, you know Romeo’s poetic verses to Juliet later on are very similar.
Is Rosaline Safe for Children?
As far as the age appropriateness to see Rosaline, I would say this movie is for tweens/teens and above. It’s far from graphic or inappropriate, but it is a romantic comedy, so it won’t be of interest to little ones. That said, if you have young children and want to have the movie play in the background during playtime, this is a movie you can play in the presence without concern. As for language, there are a few inappropriate words used. Where Shakespeare had colourful ways to tell someone off, in modern-day language, there are a simpler and cruder ways to say things. Rosaline says ‘blow me’ and f-word once, and I was pretty disappointed about that, because it really wasn’t necessary. If we are being honest, teenagers will find it refreshing to see these age-old characters speaking like their peers. As a film, I appreciated the strength in the female characters and the honesty on thoughts on love. I also appreciated that there were no uncomfortable love scenes, so it is a perfect film to watch with your teens.
Who Stars in Rosaline?
As mentioned above, Kaitlyn Dever, Kyle Allen, and Isabela Merced are the main characters along with Sean Teale who play Dario. Other star actors include Minnie Driver as Juliet’s nurse, Bradley Whitford as Rosaline’s father and Christopher McDonald as Lord Cauplet.
Screenplay writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber were inspired by Rebecca Serle’s novel “When You Were Mine” and made a created this teenage, lovesick, hilarious extension to an almost non-character that is just too good. While there have been many interpretations of the tragic love story over the hundreds of years, this one is witty, modern and full of laughs for Shakespeare lovers.
What you will appreciate in Rosaline
A new twist on a play written hundreds of years ago that is relevant, funny and has a real message is not just refreshing, it is clever. I am always amazed when writers can find something else to story tell about.
The fact that the style of English used in Rosaline is familiar makes it much more attractive to a modern audience. That said, if your children are studying any Shakespeare play, they will find this film hilarious.
The costumes for all the characters were stunningly created. So much so, I seriously thought about Halloween coming up and how teenage girls could dress up as Rosaline! Verona, Italy is the setting of the film, and the renaissance houses and gardens are so romantic and beautiful.
This summer we took our family to fair Verona, Italy. My boys started reading Shakespeare last year and one of my boys was fascinated (like me) in all things Shakespeare. Verona is literally the setting chosen by Shakespeare for the Romeo and Juliet play. However, it is said that Shakespeare never traveled to Verona, and only knew of the real-life feud between two families in the city. While the names are slightly different, and the feud was most likely something to do with land or politics, Shakespeare took the idea and ran with it. Today, Verona is a tourist stop for people who love Shakespeare, and you can visit locations in the city that refer to the star-crossed lovers.
Now that we visited the city of Verona, I can’t wait to watch this movie with my boys and show them how Verona was the setting for this new comedy based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I know they will really enjoy it!
Rosaline is available in Canada now exclusively on Disney +.