The War of the Roses (1989)
Divorce lawyer Danny De Vito warns his prospective client that the story he's about to tell isn't a pretty one, but the client listens with eager intensity -- as do the folks out there in the movie in the audience. The War of the Roses can best be described as a slapstick tragedy concerning the decline and literal fall of a marriage. After 17 years, Oliver (Michael Douglas) and Barbara (Kathleen Turner) Rose want a divorce. Not for this couple is there anything resembling a "civilized understanding": Barbara wants their opulent house, and Oliver isn't about to part with the domicile. Barbara nails the basement door shut while Oliver is downstairs, Oliver disrupts Barbara's fancy party by taking aim at the catered dinner, Barbara lays waste to Oliver's sports car....and so it goes, culminating in a disastrous showdown around, about and under the living room's fancy chandelier. DeVito and screenwriter Michael Leeson never let us forget that the couple's self-indulgent imbroglio exacts an awful price upon their children (Sean Astin and Heather Fairfield). The War of the Roses was adapted from the novel by Warren Adler. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi … More
No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.Login
Critic Reviews for The War of the Roses
DeVito's taste for unorthodox camera angles and striking camera movements occasionally verges on overreaching but for the most part admirably serves the action.
Trying to wring yocks from a deranged couple locked in mortal combat over possession of their house is more suited to film noir than black comedy.
De Vito's quirky camera angles and Kathleen Turner's steely-eyed spite inject a sadistic comic-strip madness into a film that for once has the nerve to see its nastiness through.
DeVito's direction is distinctively odd (with a lot of low-angle shots looking up at things), enjoyably mischievous and always somehow mindful that there may be, at the heart of all this comic mayhem, something substantial going on.
DeVito triumphs by instilling this caustic satire with truth and consequence.
Greatly amusing, but its lasting achievement is DeVito's atmospheric authority, shaping a genuine filmmaking triumph in style and mood that deserves a standing ovation.
One of the most durable -- and characteristic -- comedies of the 1980s.
The film just keeps getting darker and more claustrophobic, like sliding down the center of a spiral.
Pretty good -- nice-looking -- black comedy with less copouts than usual.
DeVito exerts a control behind the camera that is otherwise almost nonexistent in contemporary American film comedy.
Comedy does not get any darker than this.
Fun little dark comedy from the days when DeVito still knew how to make a dark comedy fun.
Funny, memorable, but ultimately a little too dark to savor.
"bitterly brilliant black comedy"
For anyone who ever spent Valentine's Day alone with a bottle of scotch, for anyone who ever watched the love of their life go stomping out the door, for anyone who ever gazed in hatred at the happy couple spooning in public... this is the movie for you.
If you dig black comedies, this is one of the better ones of the bunch.
A sharply observed look at how optimism turns to dread, the dangers of possession, and a coda for a decade too often guilty of all of the above.
Audience Reviews for The War of the Roses
Oliver Rose: You weren't even multiorgasmic before you met me, were you?
"There is no winning! Only degrees of losing!"
It took me a long time to finally watch this movie and it really was worth it. This is a dark comedy out of heaven. I loved everything about it. Danny DeVito's commentary and direction are awesome. And of course Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner give fantastic and fun performances as a married couple who are now dueling for their home. The movie is extremely fun and entertaining.
Oliver and Barbara Rose have been married for 17 years. In those 17 years, they had two kids and Oliver worked himself into a position where he is making loads of money. The family is rich and they buy their dream house. Barbara spends years making the house as perfect as possible, but when she is finally done she realizes that her marriage is no longer a satisfying one. She wants a divorce, but she also wants the house and Oliver isn't going to give that up easy. Basically the whole run time is full of marital disputes and craziness.
Kathleen Turner is so good at playing a bitch. She excels at it to such a degree, that I only think of her as a bitch. Michael Douglas is just Michael Douglas. He's a solid and multidimensional actor who never disappoints. Those two on screen together in this movie are perfect. They much more fun to watch then they were in Romancing The Stone.
The movie is essentially a drama that they playoff as a comedy, and it works really well. These types of Black Comedies don't always work, but when they do, they aren't just good, they're amazing. This is one of those examples. DeVito doesn't make a false step. He brings us into a world of marital hell and he does it with a strong sense of style and wit.
Funny movie about a divorce lawyer and his client Oliver Rose. Barbara worked her whole life to provide for her family and make a good home. When the kids are off to college, she wants to set up her own business. Her husband takes no interest. He thinks their life is perfect but she wishes he was dead. They war over their beautiful house. Great cast.More
Very enjoyable 80s movie. Some good laughs but I still love Romancing The Stone & The Jewel Of The Nile the best lol!!!! :)More
The War of the Roses Quotes
- Gavin D'Amato:
- My father used to say a man can never outdo a woman when it comes to love or revenge.
- Gavin D'Amato:
- There are two dilemmas that rattle the human skull; How do you hold on to someone who won't stay? And how do you get rid of someone who won't stay?
- Man in Chair:
- Why would somebody sell a million-dollar house for $200,000?
- Gavin D'Amato:
- Who knows--divorce, loan sharks, drugs, sudden death--the point is, you get to capitalize on a fellow human being's misfortune. That's the basis of real estate.
- Gavin D'Amato:
- No. No, Oliver - you don't even deal with her. You avoid her: women can be a lot meaner than we give them credit for. Never underestimate her as an adversary. Don't even talk to her.
- Gavin D'Amato:
- "What do you call 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? An excellent start." I used to resent jokes like that. Now I see them as simple truths.
- Oliver Rose:
- You say it's mine and you can have everything in the house.
- Barbara Rose:
- Ok. It's mine.
Discuss The War of the Roses on our Movie forum!