The Ballad of Jack and Rose Reviews
Synopsis: A single father tries to come to terms with his 16-year-old daughter Rose's coming-of-age. When the father's new love, Kathleen and her two teenage boys come to live with them, Rose undergoes a sexual awakening with both liberating and devastating co...
Starring: Beau Bridges, Camilla Belle, Catherine Keener, Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Jason Lee, Jena Malone
Directed by: Rebecca Miller
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.
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.