The Rose - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Rose Reviews

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August 27, 2018
The only character I liked in this film was Frederic Forrest's Huston Dyer. What a great actor! Stole the scene each time.
January 23, 2018
The BEST movie I have ever seen. 5 stars
½ July 23, 2017
An occasionally touching drama that allows you to sympathize with its lead character with a certain ease, although in the end Mark Rydell's The Rose employs endless cliches and serviceable supporting characters that are just there for dialogue but end up being effective in touching the audience.
May 3, 2016
one of her best movies!!!!
Super Reviewer
½ March 11, 2016
The concert sequences are quite good (they feel authentic, while never losing the narrative) but the plot gets a little repetitive. Still, it's a solid piece of work that may have actually benefited from being denied access to Janis Joplin's actual life story as it gave the filmmakers the freedom to do whatever they wanted.
February 4, 2016
It's a wonderful film, and a pitch-perfect performance from the Divine Miss M.
December 8, 2015
I had never heard of this movie, and even if I had I don't think I would have been first in line to see it. I am not a Midler fan, but she is great in this movie, and I loved the movie. Midler plays a Rock star who is on a self destructive path. Terrifically acted and very well written, I highly reccomend the film, it is extremely enjoyable.
½ August 30, 2015
I was born a woman.

Rose is a female rocker that has quickly became a super star with records out, great collaborations, and a gigantic fan base. Her manager is doing his best to help her cash in and keeps her busy. Her persistent drinking and drug use makes it hard to keep up with the demands of her manager. Meanwhile, she meets a friendly face and falls in love with a young man. The young man tries to help her find a purpose in life beyond performing, but the manager won't let the efforts come easy.

"You always tell Christmas stories like this, Rose?"

Mark Rydell, director of On Golden Pond, The Cowboys, James Dean, For the Boys, The River, The Fox, Cinderella Liberty, and Even Money, delivers The Rose. The storyline for this picture is very well done and I enjoyed watching the evolution of the main characters. The settings, customs, and performances were very believable. The cast includes Bette Midler, Alan Bates, Harry Dean Stanton, Frederick Forest, David Keith, and Doris Roberts.

"I can't get laid. Nobody wants me."

I caught a preview for this on Movies! and had to DVR it. I loved the main character and felt the loose Janis Joplin feel was interesting and well spun. This wasn't a perfect film, but Midler does deliver a compelling and well executed performance. This is an entertaining film worth a viewing but not the classic it could have been.

"I need something new."

Grade: B-/B
½ July 2, 2015
Aside from a couple of songs in the mid 1970's and one recorded with Tom Waits, I have never been fond of Bette Midler. However, in 1979 she gave one of the most memorable cinematic debut performances in Mark Rydell's The Rose. The film is very loosely based on the tragically short life of Janis Joplin.

Rydell's film is alive with the energy, soul, charisma and magic of a gifted female rock/blues performer in the late 1960's. Just as she would have been as a woman scaling the heights of fame and credibility in the wold of Rock-n-Roll of that time, Better Midler's performance is firmly grounded in a the required state of primal anger,confused maternal instincts and insecurity.

The Rose rises above all the cliches associated with "ShoBiz Dramas" thanks to Midler's brutally visceral performance and a script that anchored differently than most films of this type. Vilmos Zsigmond's cinematography is also a crucial part of why this movie works so well.

Midler would never again achieve what she does here. Apparently, she had no desire to do so. In fact, it would appear that she only made the film reluctantly because it was her only shot at being a "movie star" --- Being a great actor was not on her list of goals.

This film is truly amazing and has become a somehow forgotten film of the late 1970's. Thanks for the folks at Criterion this film has been given the appropriate treatment. It should not be missed. Don't miss this film because it stars Bette Midler. This is not the Bette Midler you are used to seeing. Trust me.
½ June 22, 2015
Why is this in the criterion collection?
April 29, 2015
Bette Midler in her finest hour playing Rose a rock star who is loosing control and heading towards tragedy brought on by indulging in drugs and alcohol and the pressure brought on by her manager, a great performance by Alan Bates.
This is definitely one of the best rock films ever made and the concert scenes are electrifying.
½ February 24, 2015
Bette Midler gives a volcanic, Oscar-nominated performance in this loose adaptation of the tragic life of singer Janis Joplin.
October 20, 2014
A Triumph! The Rose was better than I could ever expect. Going into it I already had an extreme love for Bette Midler so I knew I would at least enjoy her but wow, what a performance. This is one of the greatest performances I have seen in any movie my entire life up there with Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, Meryl Streep in Doubt, and Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs. She was heartbreaking, funny, a hot mess, and a dominate force the whole movie and just takes comand of every scene she is in. The musical numbers are so fun and amazing but the scenes where Midler is on her own breaking down about everyone that has left her in her life are just powerful. The supporting cast are wonderful as well but Midler just blew the roof off. I loved Sally Field in Norma Rae but that Oscar definitely deserved to go to Midler. I wish Midler was still doing a bunch of movies because she really deserves an Oscar. And the writing is just outstanding I can't believe that it didn't get nominated. Plus the soundtrack is amazing, her opening "Meet Me in Memphis", her cover of "When a Man Loves a Woman", her heartbreaking finale "Stay With Me", and credits song "The Rose" are tour de force. I don't use the word "triumph" a lot to describe many movies but wow is this movie a triumph. I loved every second, every frame, every breathe out of this movie. This is definitely being added somewhere to my list of favorite movies.
April 23, 2014
My Favorite Film Is 1941's Citizen Kane.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
March 29, 2014
"When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long, and you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong, just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows, lies the seed that with the sun's love in the spring becomes the rose." I'm sorry, but that song sure can get stuck in your head, and that's probably why it's more popular than the film itself, like, by a near-startling margin. Hey, folks, it's quite the mellow ballad, which really makes me wonder if this film is at all inspired by the life and career of Janis Joplin, because, wow, she sure did go well over the top with the hard blues rock vocals, admittedly to the point of being annoying something fierce, or rather, about as annoying as you would expect a heroin-addicted, alcoholic rock vocalist to be (Yeah, Kurt Cobain, we get it, "A denial, a denial, a denial, a denial..."). No, Joplin, as a nonetheless killer vocalist, had plenty of groovy softer songs, as surely as this film's Mary Rose Foster character has plenty of... slightly over-the-top songs. Yeah, forget you Bette Midler, with your subdued... clean and beautiful vocals, because I won't truly believe you as Joplin until you start hollering out, "Baby", over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. No, you passionate dopeheads, Joplin was indeed an awesome vocalist, it's just that it's kind of ironic that Joplin is most well-known for the over-the-top songs, whereas this film is, well, only known for its soft title track. Once again, people, I too am going over the top, because this film isn't that forgotten, as well as it shouldn't be, as it is quite good, in spite of having some thorns.

Simply covering the latter years of the career of a self-destructive musical icon, this film opens up suddenly plopping you in the midst of the life of its lead, expecting you to know Janis Joplin well enough to not need all that much background information on this character study, and yet, this isn't Janis Joplin we're talking about, but rather a should-be distinguished woman with a should-be distinguished story whose immediate underdevelopment is seriously distancing, and whose limitations in gradual exposition don't exactly compensate for the underdevelopment. Of course, it's not like the story isn't too recognizable for its own good, and not just to those familiar with the Joplin-esque story which inspires this narrative, as this film follows an almost overly traditional path as a drama about an artist's coping with her flaws and possible fall from grace, until slipping into predictability, intensified by somewhat manufactured-feeling dramatics. Generally fairly tight with its dramatic realization, this film, upon losing comfort with its depths, all but really flies off the handled as histrionic, through questionable thin character motivations and abrasive, or at least overblown dramatic set pieces which limit the drama's depths, while shaking the subtlety of depth to thematic value, at least in Bo Goldman's and Bill Kerby's script. The subtlety issues certainly don't frequently derive from Mark Rydell's directorial atmosphere, whose delicately collective atmosphere carries an effective thoughtfulness, until getting carried away with the pacing steadiness which dulls down momentum too much to keep entertainment value, let alone intrigue, all that consistent. At the very least, the overt thoughtfulness to Rydell's storytelling stiffens pacing, and therefore gives you an opportunity to meditate too much, on the problematic over-two-hour runtime which is reached through an excess in material and filler that quickly and firmly devolve into repetition that holds back a sense of progression to this narrative. Almost unfocused in its aimlessness, pacing is arguably the final product's biggest issue, though not the only one, as there's too much emptiness to the exposition, originality, subtlety and atmospheric bite for the film to secure its rewarding status all that firmly. Nonetheless, the final product does, in fact, secure reward value, being messy, yet realized enough in its bite to consistently compel thoroughly, and even entertain often, especially when musicality goes played upon.

While sometimes noisy in its harder bluesy stylings, this film's soundtrack is relatively outstanding, boasting killer instrumentation behind Bette Midler's stellar vocal range and stylistic diversity, typically behind a live performance simulation which delivers on fantastic energy - expressed within Midler's individual liveliness and electric interactions with the band - that enhances the entertainment value which the tunes, alone, firmly establish. Even as a fictitious live musical experience, this film delivers, and even when the concert visuals are set aside, you've got plenty of music to latch onto as markers for major heights in entertainment value, shaken during the less musical moments by a certain dryness, though certainly not something that compellingness can thrive on all that thoroughly. It's the dramatic depth of this film which can make or break this effort's full impact, and in concept, plenty of it stands, for although the underdevelopment loosens your full grasp on this character study which is already a little too familiar for its own good, there's plenty of potential to this portrait on an artist's realization of her humanity as her flaws aggressively close in on the comfort in her questionable lifestyle. Meat is certainly there on paper, but the interpretation of this worthy story concept is what really matters in the long run, and no matter how underdeveloped, formulaic and, worst of all, repetitiously overdrawn it is, Bo Goldman's and Bill Kerby's keeps flavor going with thorough cleverness to dialogue, while making highlights in characterization count with subtly human depth that offers a gripping change of pace from the subtlety issues that Mark Rydell works to compensate for with a directorial storytelling whose thoughtfulness is often blandly dry in its being so thoughtful, but just as often effective. Generally pretty controlled in its sometimes overambitious focus on clever writing and a worthy narrative concept, Rydell's direction rarely loses a sense of inspiration that, when really played up, moves, and such a formula to storytelling engrosses just enough for the film to transcend its messiness as an intimate character drama. What secures the heart of this film, however, is the performances, which are pretty decent across the board, particularly within such supporting players as the thoroughly charismatic Frederic Forrest, yet cannot begin to compare to a debut acting performance by leading lady Bette Midler that is not simply revelatory, but outstanding, with a harsh charisma that sells the trashy charm of the Mary Rose Foster character who goes inspired by the famously hard-edged Janis Joplin, until punctuated by a captivating emotional intensity that captures the anguish and core of Foster, and gives you extensive insight into the flawed star's vulnerability and gradual realization of such vulnerability. Foster is written to be a somewhat rocky lead, and in the hands of a lesser actress, she would have perhaps come off as too unlikable of a lead for her own good, but Midler's truly triumphant performance carries so much power and conviction, and effortlessly at that, that it's hard to not be drawn to the central focus of this character drama, and while inspiration is not quite as consistent or immense in the offscreen performances, Midler is but one of many aspects that leave the final product to compel through all its flaws as a worthy watch.

Once the spring has come, atmospheric cold spells stand within the direction, dulling things down a bit, while thorough underdevelopment, consistent conventions and histrionic moments plague the film's script almost as much as a draggy narrative structure that leaves the final product to all but limp into underwhelmingness, evaded by the outstanding soundtrack, energetic visual musical performances, clever script, thoughtful direction and strong cast - headed by the absolutely sensational Bette Midler - which make Mark Rydell's "The Rose" a generally entertaining, frequently compelling, often moving and all around rewarding study on classic thorns found within music stardom.

3/5 - Good
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2014
Best work from Bette Midler ever. She gets inside Janis Joplin quite amazingly especially given that they are unlikely to share many personal traits.
January 3, 2014
I saw this movie back when it came out and a couple of times since. Its a really good movie, but lost on today's youth who have no concept of what life was like back in the "old days" too bad too because history teaches us where we have been and where we are going. Sad story, real tear jerker.
½ December 21, 2013
Bette Midler actually delivers an incredibly realistic and potent performance. And, she most certainly captures the energy and charisma of Janis Joplin. The film is additionally aided by great music and exceptional cinematography.
November 8, 2013
One of the best movies I've seen! Could watch it over and over!
October 28, 2013
If i am going to be honest i thought at first i would hate this film with a passion but sometimes you can come away with a totally different view of a movie despite the fact its a touch cliched in parts.
The Rose is of course lossely vased on the life of Janis Joplin but once you get past that obstacle the film is very well directed by Mark Rydell and contains a brilliant performance from Bette Midler as Rose.
Midler is an aquired taste i know but she is simply amazing here as the fragile singer wholatches on to men for comfort and when that fails truns to booze and drugs to ease her pain.
It helps that the supporting cast is uniformly fine with Alan Bateas as Rose's hard pressed manager who tries to keep her on the straight andnarrow and Frederick Forrest as Roses love interest who offers her a way out only to be reppelled by Roses lifestyle.
Of course films like Ray and Walk the line have done this stuff as well but something about Rydells film sets it apart from those films which feel like disease of the week movie which played on American TV during the 80s.
Rydell knows his film is bordering on parody but thanks to a strong cental perfromance from Midler he keeps the film the right side of cheeesy.
An unexpected delight then and a film which trounces a lot of modern music biopics
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