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Bette Midler plays The Rose, a female rock star strikingly similar to Janis Joplin. The film follows Rose's career during her last tour, as she's determined to return to her Florida hometown. Although a success, she's exhausted and lonely but continued working by her gruff and greedy manager. Through loud and brassy, Rose is an insecure alcoholic and former drug user who seems to crave approval in her life. She begins a romance with a limousine driver, who's actually an AWOL sergeant from the United States Army. Her rock and roll lifestyle of Drugs, Sex, and Rock and Roll and constant touring lead her to an inevitable breakdown. Written by
R. John Berggren <email@example.com>
Bette Midler offers a performance that is both powerful (for the actress) and troubling (for the character.) She plays Mary Rose Foster, a girl who grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in Florida, but by 1969 (when the movie is set) ended up as a mega-rock star known simply as "The Rose." Unfortunately, in the midst of all her success her life falls apart. She ends up (by the time the movie begins) as a lonely alcoholic close to burnout, but with a manager (Alan Bates) who won't let her have time to recuperate, and instead just keeps pushing her on and on to the next show. Rose just wants to play one last concert - in her hometown to show the locals what a star she's become and then (as she says repeatedly) she wants to take a year off (and from the looks of her she could use it.)
Midler made this movie. It was her first starring role, and it was a challenging one, but she pulled it off perfectly. I'm not a huge fan of her style of singing, but the behind the scenes look at life on the road was interesting enough, at least for a while. Admittedly, the story became a bit monotonous after a while and there were extended scenes that really didn't seem necessary to the development of the story, but director Mark Rydell does manage to pull the viewer into Rose's life, and make her a sympathetic character. The movie also featured a decent performance from Frederic Forrest as Rose's love interest Huston Dyer, who started as her chauffeur and ended up as her lover, but eventually had to get away from her and the life she was leading, although I found the romance a bit too contrived to be believable.
I thought this was a good movie, memorable mostly for Midler and the music. Even with the weaknesses that are clearly present, I'm still going to 8/10 for this.
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