Yesterday, I received this wonderful gift in the mail from my bosom friend Oline’s father:
April 12, 1997 Saturday 8:31 pm
Last night we watched Romeo and Juliet, as it came out of video Tuesday. I cried in all the same places. I felt the quickening of my heart as Leonardo DiCaprio filled the screen. He looked at Juliet the same way I remembered—I still want him to look at me that way.
It’s the idea of Romeo and Leonardo DiCaprio that saddens me the most. I know that Leonardo is only acting. That he really goes to the bathroom like everyone else, buys groceries, went to school…the Romeo in the movie was so intense and focused his entire life on Juliet, as she did Romeo. That is what tears me apart. In real life, love is divided. One person does not make another the sole purpose of living. They have jobs, families, chores, school, hobbies…but in this movie, Romeo and Juliet have nothing but each other, which makes it entirely believable and understandable that they would kill themselves when they lost one another. That is what I want.
I want a movie Romeo who has no other obsession but me. I want to be free of all other ropes but him. I want to meet him in the courtyard and kiss him until midnight without worrying about getting up early for school the next day. I want intense romance! Or any romance!
I would take Romeo as a schoolboy who cooks dinner every night for his mother and walks the dog after doing his homework. What I do not want—what makes me terribly unhappy to think that this is the only love left in the world—is to be caught up in a meaningless relationship with a boy who is placid and unpassionate. Who leads me around school on an iron arm like many couples I see. Those people have boyfriends (and the other way around). There is no need behind it as there was in Romeo and Juliet.
They needed one another to escape the violence and hatred between their houses. There is no desperate love behind the relationships I see in school. The two people do not love one another to the point where they are consumed by the mere glance of their lovers. They do not speak of each other as being “the sun” or “a rose.” They speak of grades and friends and sports—which would seem vile on the tongues of Romeo and Juliet while proclaiming their love on the balcony:
“Romeo, o’ Romeo, where for art thou, Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name, and if thou wilt not be but sworn my love, then I shall no longer be a Capulet.”
“Shall I speak now, or hear more?”
“Oh Romeo. What is in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet as would Romeo remain.”
“I am here! What did you get on your math test?”
Awful! Anyway, I have not had a boyfriend so why even ponder what I would do with one. I just love the idea of being in love. I mean really BEING IN LOVE and not just using that person as an extra friend (whatever that meant). One thing I noticed in Romeo and Juliet is that when they are together, they don’t speak of their families or friends. They look only at one another. That is the look Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) gives Juliet that makes me cry. He is filling his eyes with HER and sharing himself with HER at the same time SHE is filling her eyes and mind and heart with HIM. That look of utter love and tenderness is what makes ME love Romeo and Leonardo DiCaprio as Romeo. It is the look I am waiting for.