The Ballad of Jack and Rose - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Ballad of Jack and Rose Reviews

Page 1 of 30
Super Reviewer
December 11, 2011
A hermetic father and daughter, who are committed to green living on an island threatened by development, adjust to the father's decision to have his girlfriend and her family move in.
What more can we say about Daniel Day-Lewis? He's an intense force who is always interesting, engaged, and committed, capable of menace and love with equal believability. The scenes in this film when he locks eyes with is daughter are some of the most charming and heart-breaking moments I've seen in a while. There's no doubt that he's the best reason to watch this film; although, there are also strong performances by Camilla Belle, Paul Dano (of course), and Catherine Keener.
The story, however, is quite flawed. After Kathleen and her sons move in, there is a plot about either Rose's awakening sexuality or Rose using sexuality to resist her father's decision -- I'm not sure which. Either way, that decision doesn't make much sense considering what we know about Rose and Jack. Also, the Electra Complex moments were not only appropriately creepy, but they also seemed unmotivated, coming from nowhere and denying all that we knew and liked about the characters. Finally, I found the ending to be unnecessarily sappy.
Overall, if you liked Daniel Day-Lewis's other work, then you'll likely find value in this performance as well.
Super Reviewer
½ September 11, 2011
This is the story of a bohemian environmentalist named Jack who lives alone on an island off the east coast of the U.S. on the remnants of an abandoned commune with his young teenaged daughter Rose. He suffers from a ad heart and is nearing close to death, and she knows nothing of life outside her isolated world on the island. No one else lives there, but they get an occasional visitor, though from a guy who brigns flowers for the girl's garden.Despite their isolation and his sickness, they have a good thing going. All of that changes however when he invites his secret mainland girlfriend and her two teenaged sons to comes to the island to live with them. Jack's intentions are good but maybe a little misguided since he doesn't have much time left and he wants Rose to have a mother figure and someone to give her guidance after he passes, but he's not prepared for the consequences of changing her world, which she doesn't want to change at all.

This is basically a study in familial bonds, trying to create and maintain a utopia, and having to deal wih all that comes up when challenges arise. It's definitely an interesting premise, and it toys with some neat ideas and concepts, but I don't think it's quite as good as the similar film The Mosquito Coast. Still though, despite some issues, it's an okay enough movie to warrant a watch.

The cast has a few notables, namely writer/director Rebecca Miller's husband Daniel Day-Lewis, Camilla Belle, the always great Catherine Keener, and appearances by Paul Dano, Jena Malone, Jason Lee, and Beau Bridges. Not a bad lot at all. They give some decent performances too. However, some of the writing is a little uneven, the characters aren't always as sympathetic as they should be, and thigns could be fleshed out a little more and better.

But, it does have some really good cinematography, and the music is notable too, including two covers of "I Put a Spell on You" (one jazz, the other the CCR version (which opens the film)), and three songs by Bob Dylan among others. I liked what they were trying to do with this film, and i have to say that no, this isn't a film aout incest, although it is about trying to deal with those sort of issues. It's got material worht thinking about and discussing, even if how it is done is a little weak and could have been handled better.

Overall, not bad, despite the problems. If you're in the mood for a quiet, introspective, and sometimes quite solemn indie drama, then give this one a go.
Super Reviewer
½ September 1, 2009
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Camilla Belle, Catherine Keener, Paul Dano, Ryan McDonald, Jena Malone, Beau Bridges, Jason Lee, Susanna Thompson, Anna Mae Clinton

Director: Rebecca Miller

Summary: Jack is a father intent on raising his daughter (Camilla Belle) as an environmentally responsible adult. His complete devotion to the cause moves him to the remotest of islands, where he feels he'll be able to lead a more compassionate, "green" life. No matter how he tries, however, he can't seem to run from the demands of human interaction.

My Thoughts: "First off I will say that this film had a great cast and great acting. But then there's the script. It's a bit of a mess with some things not making much sense. Like Rose's odd behavior. She is suppose to be acting this way considering she's been isolated with little human contact besides her father and his friend who delivers flower's to them. But when Jack moves in his girlfriend and her two sons, it is mentioned that he took Rose out of school when she was eleven. So she obviously hasn't been isolated for very long which disputes that as the reason for her odd behavior. Just things like this throughout the film that really make you question what you have already been lead to believe. Then there is the relationship between the father and daughter. Although I see how strange it is, but it's also kind of sweet how close they are and how much they do care for each other. It's one of those movies that leaves you with mixed feelings. But as I said before, it has a great cast and some really great acting, especially from Daniel Day-Lewis. Camilla Belle was good as well."
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2008
Obviously, the cast can't be beat, but it is a bit of a weird little flick. There are uncomfortable moments, but all in all it is a good movie that tells a real and complicated story.
Super Reviewer
October 4, 2008
Similar in tone to "Off the Map", but much darker in its handling of the subject matter. Jack (Day-Lewis) lives with his daughter, Rose (Belle) on what remains of a failed commune. When Jack invites his girlfriend (Keener) to move in with him, the delicate balance of Rose's life gets completely out of wack. Tender and sweet one moment, it veers off into strange, violent tangents, but the whole of the movie is held together by the powerful performances of the two main actors. All in all, a movie that will make one think about progress, the inevitable crushing of one man's dreams to fulfill the vision of another's, and the inexorable rape of the planet. Rose is caught in the crossfire, and does what she knows to do to steer her way through the chaos. All indications seem to indicate that Rose comes out the other side finding a measure of contentment, but we know how much damage she has sustained.
Super Reviewer
½ April 17, 2005
[font=Century Gothic][color=darkolivegreen]"The Ballad of Jack and Rose" is about Jack(Daniel Day-Lewis) and his young daughter, Rose(Camilla Belle) living on the remnants of a failed commune off the east coast of America while fighting encroaching development. Jack has a bad heart and may be dying. In order to help out, he asks his occasional lover, Kathleen(Catherine Keener) to move in with him. Along with her baggage, she is bringing along her two teenaged sons. And once that happens...[/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#556b2f][/color][/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=#556b2f]"The Ballad of Jack and Rose" is loaded with heavy doses of symbolism. Most of it centering around parental relationships - Jack certainly seems to be something of a control freak(Well, it's inferred that his own control freak tendencies may have driven away everybody else from the commune. But I don't have any problem with somebody trying to control their own living conditions.) towards his daughter and Kathleen trying to control the weight of one of her sons, Rodney. It turns out that Jack is quite wealthy and this is what gives him the ability to chart his own course whereas less wealthy people might not be able to. The film ends badly with a hopeful epilogue. Yes, it's always great to see Daniel Day-Lewis in anything and Catherine Keener is good playing a character less caustic than normal. [/color][/font]
Super Reviewer
May 7, 2007
A would-be poetic, pretty pretentious film struggling for the stamp of tragedy, The Ballad of Jack and Rose is fairly original but also a bit of a mess. Single father Jack lives on an island on the East Cost of the US, where once there was a thriving commune, with his young daughter Rose (Rose's mother left when she was five). Jack is dying from heart disease and is worried about leaving Rose alone, so invites his lover Kathleen and her sons to come live with them. Having lived alone with her father for most of her life, Rose is hostile to the idea and, because of her isolation, has problems communicating with anyone or expressing herself. As she is also in the throws of her sexuality, her erratic behaviour often has bizarre consequences and her relationship with her father becomes more complex. The film comes alive when Kathleen and her two sons come to the island, and it's the trio of these three performances - Catherine Keener, Paul Dano, and especially, Ryan McDonald as Rodney - that most convince. Their characters are well written and far more interesting than the oedipal complexities of Jack and Rose. Unfortunately, as the title suggests, the story concentrates on Jack and Rose, the opening half-hour establishing mood and foreshadowing like there's no tomorrow (and it felt that way in some places) and the final third delivering on this to little effect. It's no fault of the actors who portray Jack and Rose (Daniel Day-Lewis and Camilla Belle are both typically good), but their story just never generated enough interest in me and I wished that the other characters weren't disposed of so uncaringly. Worth watching for the performances alone; the film also has nice turns from Jason Lee and an almost unrecognisable Jena Malone.
Super Reviewer
February 2, 2008
Seldom has a film haunted me as much as this one. I've never really experienced a story that was so sad, beautiful, humorous, and mesmerizing all at once. Throughout the entire film I was of course struck by the unconventional relationship between father and daughter, but thrown by how pure it came across. What would normally be condemned as wrong seemed to be the only thing that was right in these character's lives. A very poignant tale with stunning acting, music, and direction. Not to be passed by.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2007
Deeply emotional yet dull.
The concept is excellent but all over the place. Watch only for Daniel Day-Lewis and Camilla Belle, who both give great performances.
Super Reviewer
June 29, 2007
Nothing amazing about this movie, but an extremely solid effort all around..
March 20, 2013
Fine acting from Lewis and Belle but the Ballad of Jack and Rose is a movie that only fans of independent or coming of age movies will enjoy. Rebecca Miller writes and directs this film about a young sheltered girl coming to age while her father is facing impending death. Lewis is brilliant (as he always is) but the script is limited and the story is at times so absurd that it become almost unbelievable. The audience tries to have sympathy for the young Slavin (Belle) but the poorly thought out script makes Belle extremely selfish and unlikable thus losing any emotional pull the audience may feel for her. Good effort but falls short of being a movie that people will talk about.
August 30, 2009
I applaud the actors for putting on amazing performances, especially Camilla Belle and Daniel Day-Lewis. Belle seems to have that unconventional side to her acting. It's disalarming, but it works out right for her. This film has to be watched with an open mind and it's obvious it will get mixed reviews. Some say it's controversial, but there's nothing here to make it seem so. Maybe the only part in the film where it may seem unorthodox is the kiss Belle gives to Day-Lewis, something she initiated; which he pushed away from. It's a story about a daughter shielded away from the outside world with the only company being her father, until he brings home a woman and her two sons to live with them. The jealousy that comes forth has Belle's character trying to kill the woman, in a not too subtle way. She also tries to find "comfort" from the boys and even a close friend of her father's. Most of the scenes were predictable, but they captured the love of a daughter for her father until his death. A death that needed to happen to set her free from her obsession. The Ballad of Jack and Rose is a must-see film.
January 7, 2010
This was a beautiful movie!!!!!!
It is both sad & happy in an odd way, a life story that will stick with you for a long while to come after watching.
I went into it with a little bit of worry on account of what i had heard about it but it was beautiful, thats all i can say about it.
Its a weird world where the lines of love can become tangled in suck a way yet still continue to be pure & innocent.
The story of a love so strong, so true, & so innocent. A love between a father & daughter, of two best friends, of what would have been in another life two lovers. A love that is so beautiful & pure when looked at correctly that you cannot find flaw in it.
The story of a father & daughter who live in near solitude yet have all they need in each other. With the entrance of another woman & two teenage boys though, their lives are transformed & turned into something full of pain & regret instead of love & peace.
A story that holds true to the end, that keeps you wondering & hopeing until the end.
See it, if you know what it is to love in any form.
Beautiful preformances by both Camilla Bell & Daniel Day-Lewis!
½ July 19, 2007
This movie totally creeped me out. I couldn't tell how the film wanted me to feel, which made the creepiness even more creepy. Still, it was fun to watch even if all the characters appeared to be rotting on the inside.
½ September 6, 2009
beautiful, humorous, and mesmerizing all at once. very unexpected film, i loved the concept of the film, it shows how thin the lines are that divide one version of love from another and the delicate balance or our lives, and how that balnce is easily tipped...

heartbreaking, and comlpicated. this film has a...haunted feeling about it, some scenes are uncomfortable and others are poigant and tender....beautiful performances both from lewes and belle.
February 1, 2009
it was directed really well, but the story is incredibly sad and kind of disturbing at points. daniel day-lewis is spectacular in it.
March 22, 2008
this is an amazing provacative and risky film with amazing performances by Daniel Day-Lewis and Camilla Belle.
Super Reviewer
August 31, 2008
HOLY COW, this movie is so poetic, so beautiful, perfect, and amazing in every way.I loved the visual beauty in terms of the forest and the way things were filmed. I also really connected with the friendship between daughter and dad and the ending abolutely tore me apart. I really adored this movie except for the one part where Thaddius violated Rose. BTW Daniel Day Lewis was AMAZING, of course! And Camilla Belle was simply beautiful, they were perfect for those roles :)
August 8, 2008
Very different and interesting. Can't recommend it to everyone, but if you have an open mind, it's worth the time.
July 6, 2008
I liked it! Quality of film wasn't the best, but all other aspects like acting, scenery, sets, story, were all quite good. About a father and daughter living on an old commune and the father is dying. The daughter is trying to cope with her father's illness and trying to grow up at the same time. I liked it and would recommend it.
Page 1 of 30