It is a popular joke on the internet that “Romeo and Juliet” isn’t a love story. It is the story of two teenagers who had a 3-day affair and caused the deaths of many. With our new-age sensibilities, most of us can agree with that statement. The movie “Rosaline” tries to put its own spin on the story and the statement by introducing it through the lens of the jilted lover. But it falls short somewhere.” Romeo and Juliet” is a Shakespearean tragedy that has been done to death already. The movie tried to do something new by making Rosaline one of the ‘Not Like Other Girls’. Despite the obvious eye roll, we might have accepted that if they had been successful in making it about her. But they still confined her entire story arc to the love story. We are not saying it wasn’t entertaining, but it could have been so much more. It could have genuinely been a different story, but alas, another opportunity was lost to the cause of ‘playing it safe.’ Allow us to explain ourselves better through the story.
How Does Rosaline Become A Part Of Romeo And Juliet’s Love Story?
As we all know, Romeo was originally smitten by Rosaline. She was also a Capulet and definitely liked him back. Her nurse, Janet, is aware of it and is supportive while still throwing around the sass. Rosaline wants to be a cartographer, but her father is upset that she is not getting married and doing the duties of a “good daughter and woman.” She claims she wants adventure and passion in life, and that is why she doesn’t want to marry any of the men her father sets her up with. All of this coincides with Romeo telling Rosaline that he loves her, but she is instantly tongue-tied. There is no ‘I love you too’, and Romeo is leaving, but Rosaline stops him and asks him to come to the Capulet Ball so that they can spend some time together. But right before the ball, her father brings home another suitor for her—Dario Penza. Can we just say we are fans? Good choice, Adrian. But Rosaline wants to get to the ball so that she can spend time with Romeo and confess her feelings in return. Dario seems to like her and offers to escort her. On their way, they are caught up on the boat and unable to reach on time. She tells him that she has a boyfriend, and Dario lets her know that he would have backed off if she had started with that. Anyway, Rosaline arrives an hour late to the ball, and everyone has already left. Romeo has fallen in love with Juliet at first sight, and Rosaline is in for a rude shock.
In the next scene, we see that she is worried about not having heard from him. Her cousin Paris comes and tells her that Romeo is on his way. Rosaline is happy, and she looks out the window but finds him going in another direction. Suspicious, she follows him and finds him climbing onto Juliet’s balcony and repeating the words he used to tell her. Heartbroken, she makes her way back home, but she’s in for a rude shock. Juliet is her cousin and is assigned to spend the summer with her. One particular day, when she confesses to her in confidence that she is in love with someone, Rosaline pretends that she has guessed it to be Romeo. She tells her to start living her life and not sit around waiting for the town’s Casanova. Sound advice if you ask us. She takes Juliet bar hopping, where she once again runs into Dario, who makes it clear that he is a lot different from what she had imagined him to be. Either way, Rosaline and Juliet’s friendship deepens as they spend more time together.
In the meantime, the former keeps writing letters to Romeo, but he has effectively ghosted her. She finds herself wanting to tell Juliet the truth and goes to do so but finds that Romeo has been writing to her. Just then, he once again makes an appearance near the balcony. Juliet seemingly wants him to go away, and with Rosaline’s help, he manages that. However, she comes to know that Rosaline is his ex. Once the truth comes out, she regrets her actions of having let him go and decides to not be friends with her cousin anymore.
A dejected Rosaline makes her way back but comes up with another plan. She asks her gay cousin Paris to get engaged to Juliet. This way, she will be out of the way, and Paris will have a cover. It all goes as planned, but Juliet is not one to sit idle. She sets out to marry Romeo on the night of her engagement party. When Rosaline comes to know this, she sets out to stop her and, once again, meets Dario. She asks for his help in crossing the forest and tells him the entire story of what has happened. They don’t manage to stop the secret wedding, but at the end of the night, they are a lot more familiar with each other. Once she gets back home, Rosaline writes a letter to Juliet apologizing for her actions. But as luck would have it, the letter falls into the hands of her cousin, Tybalt. We know how that goes. A duel and death. Romeo is banished, and Juliet is set to marry Paris at dawn. Rosaline wants to make things right again and asks Dario to help her. Both of them go to meet Juliet in her quarters, where our little genius has come up with the plan for the body paralysis drug. She’s already taken it when they reach it, and now Rosaline is trying to help her, but it ends up looking like she has poisoned her cousin. Dario seemingly escapes, and Rosaline is put behind bars. She asks her father to help her, and he does so while mentioning that she is the daughter he had hoped for. Sweet moment Adrian.
‘Rosaline’ Ending Explained: Does Rosaline Manage To Save Romeo And Juliet?
After conquering her fear of fish and coming to know that Romeo hasn’t received the message about Juliet’s plan, she makes her way to the church where they are supposed to be there. For a split second, she believes that she is too late, but Dario has saved the day, and Romeo is alive. When she notices that the parents are about to come, she tells Romeo to play dead. Upon seeing their children’s dead bodies, the Motagues and Capulets fly into a fit of rage before being schooled by Rosaline and their wives into a pact of friendship. As luck would have it, Juliet wakes up right then and expertly reads the room. She pretends to take the poison from Romeo’s lips and fakes her death once more. Now, the Monatgues and Capulets are friends; their children are “dead,” and it is a new dawn in Verona. After seeing Romeo and Juliet in the sunset, Rosaline and Dario kiss. They like each other, and it is a happy ending for everyone, almost. In a post-credits’ scene, we see that Romeo and Juliet are struggling to have a conversation as they have nothing in common with each other. What else could be expected when all one can do is recite sonnets, and the other is still a child? That was the real tragedy of their love story, but the story wasn’t about them now, or was it?
Final Thoughts: Where Does The Film Miss The Mark?
We can tell that the writers’ intention was to show a jilted lover coming into her own. But their reluctance to break away from the Romeo and Juliet storyline ruined it for us. Romeo was a guy who fell in love with someone the day after he confessed his feelings to another. He also did not have the decency to have a clear conversation with Rosaline. How did neither of the women note that? Rosaline wasn’t wrong when she pointed out that Romeo was a no-good idiot. There was some internalized misogyny in Juliet, but considering that she was still a child, could we have expected her to break away from the conditioning yet?
Also, where was the independence and adventure that both women seemed to want so badly? There are too many movies being made about a woman needing heartbreak to “find herself,” which, more often than not, means finding the right man. We don’t mind that these are not feminists by any means, but can they at least stop pretending to be? The movie was alright, but it would have been a lot better if it had not tried so hard to be something it was not. An okay-ish watch where the costumes are better than the characters. We don’t care much for it, except for Dario, who can keep our hearts with him forever.
“Rosaline” is a 2022 Drama Fantasy film directed by Karen Maine.