Review by Camden Ferrell
In a world full of adaptations of Romeo & Juliet, director Karen Maine’s new movie aims to be something different. Based on Rebecca Serle’s young adult novel When You Were Mine, Rosaline is a comedic retelling of one of the most famous love stories in history. It has a strong lead and accomplished writers on board, but the movie falls flat with an excess of mediocrity.
This movie tells a familiar story but from a different perspective. As the title suggests, this movie is told from the perspective of the titular Rosaline, Romeo’s jilted ex. To make matters more complicated, Rosaline is the cousin of Juliet, and she’s on a mission to foil their romance to get her boyfriend back. This could have been a funny and unique spin on an iconic story if done correctly.
Considering the two immensely talented writers on this project, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, one can’t help but be disappointed with this movie’s writing. It aims for comedy and misses more than it hits. The jokes are so predictable, and this diminishes their effect. One would expect this level of writing from others, but not writers of this caliber. It’s hard not to be disappointed with the wasted potential with this premise.
The acting is the strongest part of this but still not great. Kaitlyn Dever leads the film as the titular character. She has proven herself to be one of the best young actresses today, and while her performance is the most charming part of this movie, she can’t really do much with the character and material given. The movie features other great young actors like Isabela Merced and Kyle Allen, but they are given even less to work with even though they try their best to make something out of it.
One of the most disappointing aspects of this movie is the fact that it’s Maine’s sophomore feature as a director. Her first film, Yes, God, Yes, was a great coming of age movie that was charming and hilarious, but those traits are missing from her newest effort. Maybe she works better with more personal movies with a smaller scope, but it just doesn’t seem like she was the best fit for this Shakespearean project.
Rosaline takes an iconic story and tells it from a different point of view with mixed to negative results. Fans of the source material and the Shakespeare play might find something to enjoy in this, but the average viewer looking for a fun romantic comedy might leave underwhelmed.
Rosaline will be streaming on Hulu October 14.