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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Originally intended as a flat-out biography of Janis Joplin's last days titled "Pearl" ( Janis' nickname and alter-ego ) the filmakers allegedly ran into privacy issues with the Joplin family which caused them to take a more "loosely based" approach of a "composite" character! Even Bette Midler herself had some ideas of her own that promised to provide a fictious portrayal! Since I had always found Janis Joplin's life both fascinating and tragic I had to write off seeing this movie in the theatres when it first came out in 1979.It wasn't until sitting through it on HBO that I could truly appreciate how utterly great Bette Midler's performance was!It certainly stayed close enough to the "truth" while adding some dynamic elements that a Janis biography portrayed by anyone else would have sorely lacked! Bette Midler is truely at her best! She pours out her heart and soul into this role and leaves nothing behind!Her rock concert scenes alone show her broad talent as a stage performer! Her scenes drunk & stoned give a rare glimpse into a lonely and crazy world of rock stars(like Janis Joplin was!) Her scene with her childhood country-music idol reminded me of a similar situation between Janis and Johnny Cash! Her former lesbian lover is reminiscent of Janis' one-time "biographer/lover" Peggy Caserta! The "homecoming" concert at the film's end reminded me of Janis' 10-year-highschool reunion which she attended only shortly before her death! All in All I regret not having seen (in the theatre) this "loosely based" and yet "thinly disguised" story of Janis!With Bette Midler at center stage it stands as both a glowing tribute to Janis AND Bette!
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