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The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005)

 -  Drama  -  2 June 2005 (Israel)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 8,644 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 64 user | 73 critic | 35 from Metacritic.com

A father and daughter isolated on an island off the East Coast and living on a once thriving commune grapple with the limits of family and sexuality.

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Title: The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Rodney
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Thaddius
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Storyline

Jack lives on the site of his abandoned island commune with his 16-year-old daughter Rose. Jack has sheltered Rose from the influences of the outside world, but now Rose's emerging womanhood poses troubling questions about the days ahead. A man who has lived a life motivated by environmentalism and other altruistic causes, Jack now rages at those who do not share his concerns, like developer Marty Rance, who is building a housing tract on the edge of his property. When Jack invites his girlfriend Kathleen and her sons Rodney and Thaddius to live with them, Rose feels betrayed and the situation quickly becomes precarious. Rose acts out wildly, creating chaos. As everything flies out of control, Jack finds himself trapped in an impossible place and is forced to take action. Written by Christine Richardson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, sexual content and some drug material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

2 June 2005 (Israel)  »

Also Known As:

Rose and the Snake  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$59,459 (USA) (25 March 2005)

Gross:

$712,294 (USA) (17 June 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Goofs

When Jack address Kathleen at his house, he accidentally calls her by real name, Catherine. See more »

Quotes

Jack Slavin: You're getting freckles.
Rose Slavin: No I've always had those.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to the people of Souris, Eastern Kings and Charlottetown, P.E.I.. See more »

Connections

Featured in Indie Sex: Teens (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

One More Cup of Coffee
(1975)
Written and Performed by Bob Dylan
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Slow Moving and Idiosyncratic Father-Daughter Portrayal Among the Hippie Culture
12 December 2005 | by (San Francisco, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

Master filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu made one of his great masterworks about the unearthly devotion between a father and a daughter with 1949's "Late Spring". Director-screenwriter Rebecca Miller has a similar idea in mind here, as she has fashioned a story set in 1986 around the same inextricable bond between a 1960's drop-out Jack and his teenage daughter Rose on an isolated island. She has an intriguing idea for the film's theme, the disillusionment of the idealism borne out of the 1960's anti-war movement and the encroachment of capitalism upon a former commune's idyllic setting.

However, whereas Ozu uses narrative ellipses to let the story flow and lets the viewer respond emotionally, Miller does not reflect such an instinctive manner and has piled on soap opera conventions, heavy symbolism, a dominating soundtrack (lots of Bob Dylan) and lethargic pacing to add weight to her well-intentioned but significantly flawed 2005 movie. That's unfortunate since we expect more from a film starring the likes of Daniel Day-Lewis (Miller's husband) as Jack and Catherine Keener as his sometime hippie-earth mother girlfriend, Kathleen. Looking appropriately gaunt for a dying man, Day-Lewis infuses his trademark feral passion into the role and comes up with some genuinely incisive moments, though Miller gives him little more the liberal hermit archetype to play. Keener does not fare much better as her role is even more stereotypical than his, especially as Miller's contrived story turns make her acts more incomprehensible as the story trudges on. Oddly, she plays a comic variation on a very similar role in this year's "The 40 Year-Old Virgin" and is wonderful in that.

Camilla Belle is a lovely presence as Rose, and she does some strong work with the coming-of-age aspects of her character. Where the script fails her is in showing the motivation for her often extreme acts of hostility and manipulation to keep Rose's relationship with Jack isolated from the others. As a result, she comes across as petulant and childish rather than the puritanical soul Miller would like us to think she is. There are several performances in smaller roles worth mentioning - Ryan McDonald keenly aware as Kathleen's overweight, acerbic son, Rodney, who wants to be a hairdresser; Beau Bridges as the conciliatory land developer, Marty Rance; a surprisingly sensitive Jason Lee as a thoughtful gardener who bonds with Rose over their mutual love of flowers; and in the film's best performance, an almost unrecognizable Jena Malone as Rodney's wild-child friend, Red Berry.

Occasionally there are scenes that surprise with their originality like the final encounter between Jack and Marty. However, more often, there are several scenes that ring false, in particular, the back-projected home movies during the kids' recreation of a 1960's love-in party. The film's sluggish pace suddenly picks up toward the end when a series of events wrap up the loose ends of the story in too pat a manner including a totally unnecessary epilogue. Ellen Kuras's cinematography is almost too prettified given her predilection for impressionistic set-up shots. Miller shows signs of her father Arthur Miller's gravitas in her story, but she needs to work on maintaining interest in her film as the plot unfolds. Truth be told, I fell asleep twice before I could see the movie to the end. There are no extras with the DVD other than a few trailers for this and other independent films in release.


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