i rewatched baz luhrmann’s romeo+juliet and i discovered this really interesting recurring image of water as suspension from the action of the play, which. yeah. i wanna write an essay about it.
but basically, the skinny is that juliet starts off the movie suspended in a bathtub, not yet caught up in the trajectory of the play, which is later mirrored by romeo dunking his head in a sink to come down from his trip. he does that in a bathroom, distanced from the main action of the party. right after that, he sees juliet for the first time through the aquarium, emphasizing how their love makes them feel detached from the immediate familial conflict of the ‘real world’, and later that night, they kiss in the pool, again desperately trying to escape their families’ rivalries and the impossibility of their love. when tybalt dies, he falls backwards into a fountain, effectively leaving the main action of the play. juliet pushes romeo from the balcony just before he goes into exile, and he lands in a pool, once again signalling his departure from the goings-on of the play – although interestingly, he spends that exile in a desert trailer park, so i wonder whether the complete lack of water in arid mantua already tells us that any attempt to remove him from the conflict and its inevitable tragic turn-out is futile.
perhaps most heart-wrenchingly though: just before his final fight, mercutio stands in the ocean, up to his knees in water, shooting at the waves and the sky. not only does he foolishly try to combat the forces of nature, but he’s also half-submerged in water. he almost made it out.