Days of Wine and Roses

1962

Days of Wine and Roses

Critics Consensus

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 8

88%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,544
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Movie Info

This thoroughly depressing drama concerns the battles of a young couple against the insidiousness of alcohol addiction. Joe (Jack Lemmon) and Kirsten (Lee Remick) are young newlyweds with a seemingly bright future. Joe is an up and coming public relations worker with a promising career. When the pressures of the job become too much, he takes solace inside a bottle of booze. Kirsten joins the party in order to relate to her husband, and the two get down to some brain cell killing, liver damaging drinking that would make F. Scott Fitzgerald and W. C. Fields blush. Joe's career takes a decidedly downward turn, losing his job as the couple continues to tip more than a few. They move in Kirsten's father, who owns a greenhouse. After a night of drinking, Kirsten reveals she hid a bottle hidden under one of the greenhouse plants. In a terrifying scene, Joe tears up all the plants trying to unearth the hidden bottle, ruining his father-in-law's budding plants. Joe also goes through withdrawals in a mental hospital in yet another disturbing scene of horrible alcohol addiction. He seeks help from a 12 step group, but Kirsten can't shake the grip of demon alcohol. By now, the couple has a young daughter, and a sober Joe realizes he may have to leave the woman he loves when she becomes hopelessly addicted. The title song by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini won an Academy Award. while Lemmon and Remick received well deserved nominations for their gripping portrayals of the tortured couple whose lives are ruined by booze.

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Critic Reviews for Days of Wine and Roses

All Critics (8)

  • Days is a tract, my friend, a folded brochure of a film, rescued by Jack Lemmon's charm and some good dark camerawork.

    Jan 3, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Grim, strong drama about alcoholism with Lemmon and Remick's stellar work.

    Mar 22, 2008 | Rating: 5/5
  • Except for the (fake) ending, this is one of Hollywood's best films about the devastating effects of alcoholism, going beyond Wilder's Lost Weekend, and proficiently helmed by Blake Edwards just before the Pink Panther films changed completely his career

    Apr 30, 2007 | Rating: A- | Full Review…
  • Hollywood doesn't make 'em like this anymore.

    Oct 7, 2005 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for Days of Wine and Roses

  • Jun 16, 2014
    <i>"They are not long, the days of wine and roses: Out of a misty dream Our path emerges for a while, then closes Within a dream.</i> - Ernest Dowson, from "Vitae Summa Brevis" (1896). A screwball comedy in the first act, a jazzy account of addictive self-destruction in the second act, and a thought-provoking melodrama in the third act... It is somewhat justifiable that the world got extremely excited with a phenomenon like <i>Dr. No</i>, got disturbed by the claustrophobic dementia of <i>What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?</i> and the Academy got touchy with a meaningful social commentary against racism and intolerance featured in <i>To Kill a Mockingbird</i>, but hidden beneath the shadows of major box office achievements, a superior testament of the power of love and family struggling against one of the most impactful sicknesses in modern society, alcoholism, was released in exactly the same year. Since <i>The Lost Weekend</i> (1945), not a single film had treated alcoholism from the correct point of view: it is a sickness. It is easier to conceive it as an addiction, because everybody coins that term. The implications of "sickness", however, is much more complex, because it involves a process that begins with the self-acceptance of being sick. However, this is the first film, perhaps in the history of film (correct me if I am wrong and I'll edit it) that develops the entire recovery process of such addiction, not to say it masterfully handles melodrama with a powerful and convincing effect. Blake Edwards almost perfectly mirrored the plot structure as a film process with the process of recovery from alcoholism. Featuring two powerhouse performances by Jack Lemmon, the outgoing adman of Public Relations, and Lee Remick, his wife who is brought down by his husband to "a boat in the middle of a sea of booze, which sank", this account is utter success. The relationship featured is that of self-destruction as both <b>willingly</b> agree to invite a third party to their threesome, a matter that becomes even more complicated given that, afterwards, they have a child, which starts to grow with a serious lack of parental care. I am justifying the full rating for this film because of its versatility and its striking honesty in the depiction of its two main protagonists. It has that peculiar, overwhelming effect that effective melodramas have: 30 minutes before the movie ends, if you start remember the previous 90 minutes, you get nostalgic and it is the easiest thing to cry, because you care about the characters. You care because you feel their pain. You feel their pain because they are relatable. They are relatable because they feel human. This is the point in which the performances come in. Featuring interesting cinematography that accentuates the disturbing aura of the madness caused by such pervasive sickness, and a conclusion that made audiences walk out of the theater basically rethinking their current state, <i>Days of Wine and Roses</i> is an unusually versatile classic jewel from the U.S. which seems to be simultaneously trying to nostalgically embrace the feeling of a Hollywood classic from the Golden Age while facing the days of the American counter-culture that was rising in the Technicolor horizon. 98/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Jul 25, 2013
    A gorgeously laid out tale of two alcoholics meandering through life. One is able to stop the bleeding (drinking) but the partner is not as strong creating a fine tension between Lemmon and Remick. It's authenticity is what makes it.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 29, 2011
    An alcoholic and his wife struggle to give up the drink. This classic film brims with authenticity primarily because of the performances by Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick. Though he has a few comic moments and scenes in which his character's drunkenness allows him to use comedic physical work, Lemmon creates scenes of moving verisimilitude as Joe Clay. He's at times charming and at others thoroughly tortured. Remick, likewise, is completely lost in the world of alcohol, and her drunken moments are absolutely believable, rarely descending into caricature. The film is superbly constructed, disposing of all the connective tissue and leaving us with only the elements necessary to tell the story. Blake Edwards's direction is pitch-perfect. During the second act, there are a few scenes that seem like a public service announcement for AA. As a drunkard, not an alcoholic, I don't know if all AA meetings begin with the convener reading the organization's list of principles, but regardless, this section seemed false to me. Overall, <i>The Days of Wine and Roses</i> is a fantastic, moving drama about the ravages of alcoholism that stands as one of Jack Lemmon's finest performances.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Jun 19, 2011
    This film has two things going for it: Lemmon's wonderful acting and Edward's camera work. Other than that the film does not earn the emotion that it is attempting to generate. The audience is taken through the developing relationship and subsequent alcohol drenched years at such a brisk pace that it is really hard to get a feel for these characters. What should be a gripping masterwork regarding addiction feels more like a really well acted commercial for AA. Taking into account how groundbreaking this film must have been upon it's release in 1962, I cannot say the film is a bad. It just hasn't aged well.
    Reid V Super Reviewer

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