In the prologue to act 1, the speaker introduces the conflict between the Capulets and Montagues, before a tense confrontation between the rival families in scene 1.
Speaking for the first time, Romeo leads Juliet away from the dance floor and, after a sonnet likening his lips to a pilgrim at a shrine, the would-be lovers kiss.
In an attempt to dissuade Juliet from harming herself, Friar Laurence outlines a plan to fake her death so she might avoid a wedding she doesn't want and be free to run away with Romeo.
Tybalt sees that Romeo has gatecrashed a Capulet costume party and threatens to kill him, as Romeo spots Juliet dancing with her fiance yet falls in love at first sight (as Des'ree performs 'Kissing You').
A news bulletin introduces the story of Romeo and Juliet, two star-crossed lovers whose death will bury their parent's strife. The use of a television and the ensuing montage provides the modernised setting in which Baz Luhrmann has set his retelling of Romeo and Juliet.
The Capulets and Montagues are reprimanded for their misdeeds. Captain Prince, Chief of Police, makes it known gang rivalries will no longer be tolerated on Verona streets and shall another disruption occur, a life will pay the forfeit of the peace.
Romeo is seen lingering at the Verona beach. In the car, Ted and Caroline, Romeo's parents, agonise over his heavy-hearted. Fearing his self-afflicted isolation, they ask Benvolio, Romeo's cousin, to appease their child's black and portentous mood. On the beach, Benvolio asks what sadness occupies the days and Romeo talks of unrequited love, but is disappointed to see Benvolio has involved himself in another violent fray.
The Capulet mansion makes preparations for a party. Gloria Capulet, Julia's mother, seeks her daydreaming daughter, enlisting the help of Nurse. Once found, Juliet is entreated to consider suitor, Paris, a suitor no less to be attending the evening's events. Juliet offers to look, but will not be convinced by her mother. Upon Juliet's defiance, Nurse whispers her blessing, telling Juliet to find the happiness she deserves.
Seeking solitude from the party, Romeo and Juliet meet eyes across an aquarium and fall in love. But Juliet is stolen away at her mother behest, to meet the fable suitor. Following in chase, Romeo is seen by Juliet's cousin, Tybalt. Tybalt vows to kill Romeo for his intrusion, but Fulgencio, Juliet's father, stops him and commands that he endures his anger. Romeo and Juliet steal glances as she dances with the suitor Paris.
Romeo and Juliet are discovered stealing a kiss in the elevator. Nurse drags Juliet back to her mother, who craves a word. Romeo and Juliet learn each other's true identity and realise they have found love in a loathed enemy. Tybalt promises to avenge Montague's intrusion.
Romeo sneaks back into the Capulet mansion, seeking Juliet. Hidden from view, he hears Juliet profess her love for him and question the nature of a name. When Romeo reveals himself, Juliet is startled, and the two fall into the pool where they talk of faithful vows. Hearing Nurse's beckon, Juliet asks that Romeo send for her tomorrow with the purpose of honouring their love by marriage.
Romeo visits Fr Lawrence and implores him to fulfil the rival lovers' plan to wed. Struck that Romeo speaks of rich Capulet's fair daughter, Fr Lawrence accuses him of a young and wavering heart, but Romeo persists. Hoping a union between Romeo and Juliet will end the rivalry between the houses, Fr Lawrence agrees to perform the rites, but cautions against acting impetuously.
Romeo and Juliet are wed in secret, as Mercutio and the Montagues pass idle time on Verona Beach. When vengeful Tybalt appears in search of Romeo, Mercutio taunts his request for occasion. Romeo arrives, and Tybalt challenges him to a duel, but Romeo refuses. Unwilling to hear reason Tybalt assaults Romeo. Mercutio springs to Romeo's defence but shows mercy at his request. Tybalt mercilessly cuts Mercutio with a shard of glass. Romeo is enraged, chasing Tybalt to avenge Mercutio's death.
Balthasar beckons Romeo away before the police arrive. Captain Prince hears of Tybalt's death at Romeo's hands from Benvolio. Both families seek to excuse their child's action, but Captain Prince will not hear any of their prayers and banishes Romeo from Verona city. Father Lawrence treats Romeo's injuries, as they discuss the situation. Nurse arrives to tell Romeo of Juliet's mood. Romeo bemoans his predicament, but Father Lawrence reminds Romeo of his blessings and implores him to reconcile.
Romeo and Juliet are interrupted when Nurse announces Gloria Capulet's imminent arrival. Romeo escapes, and Juliet agonises over their secret love. When Gloria reveals Juliet be made a wife on Thursday, Juliet re-joins that wedding Paris will not make her a joyful bride. Gloria relays Juliet's sentiment to Fulgencio. Fulgencio is furious, threatening to disown her for disobedience. Nurse suggests she submit to the wedding, as Romeo's life is already lost. Juliet asks Nurse tell Gloria she has le
Learning of Juliet's apparent death, Balthasar rushes to Romeo, who has failed to open the letter nor learn of Juliet's true fate. Balthasar relays to Romeo the ill news. Heart-broken and impetuous, Romeo decides to return to Verona city and lay with Juliet, seeking a poison to dispatch him also.
Inside the church, Romeo bids Juliet farewell and drinks the poison. At that moment, Juliet awakens and, realising what has happened, they sharing a final kiss. Distraught, Juliet uses Romeo gun to take her own life. The bodies are found and taken to the morgue. Captain Prince castigates both families for the consequences of their feudal behaviour, condemning all to punishment. The final scene is reported on television by the same news anchor that began our story of poor Juliet and her Romeo.
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