Rosaline trailer sheds new light on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare’s story Romeo and Juliet been said and retold a number of times (and in many ways), but Hulu’s next movie, Rosaline, approaches the piece from an unlikely point of view. In the trailer for Rosalinethe titular character (played by Kaitlyn Dever) introduces herself as Romeo’s ex-girlfriend and states that she will stop at nothing to break up the new couple.

Rosaline’s character never appears in Romeo and Juliet. As a result, little or nothing is known about his personality. She is only mentioned as Lord Capulet’s niece (and therefore Juliet’s cousin) and, more importantly, the woman for whom Romeo has unrequited feelings before meeting Juliet. In Rosalinehowever, Rosaline is brought to the fore for the first time as an abandoned ex-girlfriend who is determined to get Romeo back.

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It’s not a new concept to take a classic and remake it with modern themes and dialogue, although some adaptations do it better than others. Where the 2022 Persuasion remake struggled to strike the right balance between the original text and a newer, more modern version. Despite the Elizabethan setting and costumes, Hulu’s Rosaline seems to be taking the distinctive leap into the latter, and the result is an entirely original concept.

The trailer makes the movies feel like Ella, enchanted and Princess, where the characters use modern language in a more old-fashioned way, but it doesn’t feel unnatural. When Rosaline doesn’t want to get out of bed because of her breakup, she complains to her nurse about having cholera. When Rosaline’s potential love interest, Dario, teases her about trying to sabotage “her boyfriend’s wedding”, she scolds him with colorful modern language. It doesn’t feel stuffy or out of place, but rather, it seems to work, especially because this story is different enough from the original piece.

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Rosaline seems to match movies like 10 things i hate about you and clueless, aside from when it happens and how the characters dress. The biggest difference, however, is that instead of a main character, this adaptation focuses on a character who doesn’t even appear in the original text. Rosaline isn’t even a secondary character in Romeo and Juliet; all readers know of her comes from Romeo’s melodramatic and heartbreaking descriptions. Now she is a whole person at the center of the story.

Rosaline is very clearly a comedy, so it will be interesting to see whether or not it sticks to Romeo and Julietis the tragic end. It seems unlikely that this ending could stay the same for a comedy – unless it’s a dark comedy, in which case Rosaline might finally get what she wants, albeit through the death of the two main characters. In both cases, Rosaline seems like a must-have Shakespearean adaptation.

Rosaline premieres October 14 on Hulu.

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