“She hath forsworn to love, and in that vow / Do I live dead that live to tell it now.”Romeo
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, 1.1.223-224
We have all heard the tale of woe, of the young Juliet and her love, Romeo. But alas Juliet was not the first to have his heart, it was Rosaline who had it from the very start. Act one, scene one in Shakespeare’s famous tale, his love unrequited Romeo does wail. On October 14, 2022 Hulu will set the record straight, as an original film tells of Rosaline’s fate. A film by any other name would be just as sweet, but simply calling it Rosaline makes it feel complete.
When it comes to the mere mention of a Shakespeare play, it can be difficult to fight the urge to quote it — or misquote it or imitate it. I was unable to resist. Sorry, not sorry. Expect Rosaline to do something similar — to quote, misquote or imitate Shakespeare for narrative and comedic purposes. This satirical, romantic comedy takes the tragic love story that we all know and retells it through the eyes of Juliet’s cousin and Romeo’s first love, Rosaline (Kaitlyn Dever). When plans go awry and Romeo (Kyle Allen) meets and falls in love with Juliet (Isabela Merced), a heartbroken Rosaline schemes to win back her man with some help from her nurse (Minnie Driver), her bestie, Paris (Spencer Stevenson) and the man her father is trying to set her up with, Dario (Sean Teale).
This film is reminiscent of the 90s/ early 2000s romantic comedies. Ever After, 10 Things I Hate About You, Ella Enchanted (mainly because of Minnie Driver and thankfully, no musical numbers in this one), Bridget Jones Diary — the dialogue, costumes, sets, music and characters just remind you of these different films. One specific example (without really spoiling anything) is when a heartbroken Rosaline is listening to a violinist play “All By Myself” — hello, Bridget Jones!
Aside from “All By Myself,” there is also a rendition of “Dancing on my Own” among other songs that were popular in the 90s/early 2000s. I actually wish there was more music in the film. It felt like there was a large chunk in what would be considered Act Two that could have been improved with some music.
To further point out 90s connections, Bradley Whitford appears as Rosaline’s Dad with Christopher McDonald as his brother (and Juliet’s father). Yes, Josh Lyman (The West Wing) and Shooter McGavin (Happy Gilmore) sitting at the same table as the Capulet brothers.
In addition, the costumes, sets and cinematography set this apart from other direct-to-streamer teenage-romantic-comedies. It all reminded me of Ever After, one of my absolute favorite movies that came out of the 90s — not as good but definitely reminiscent of the costumes, sets and cinematography.
Overall, it was a fun, entertaining satirical love story. If Ever After and 10 Things I Hate About You had a baby, it would be Rosaline.