The Rose Reviews
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."
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.
This is definitely one of the best rock films ever made and the concert scenes are electrifying.
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
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
Even as it is too long and a little ragged around the edges like its protagonist, "The Rose" has Bette Midler's fearless and astounding performance going for it which is enough to get it through the night. Plus, there are the entertaining musical numbers and a lovely late long shot of a lighted phone booth framed against the darkness. And the movie is surprisingly gay friendly with its night club full of drag queens(one of the highlights of the film), a kiss edited out of the film and perhaps the most chaste bath house in the history of New York City. I heard this was inspired by the life of Janis Joplin but I want to remain ignorant on that note, so I can judge this movie on its own merits. What I can say is it does not go the route of the cliched self-destructive rock star and instead focuses on Rose's insecurities which simultaneously drive and destroy her, with a manager who does not have her best interests at heart.