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A fresh young beauty becomes an old maid waiting for her suitor to return from the Napoleonic wars. When he returns, clearly disappointed, she disguises herself as her own niece in order to test his loyalty.
Helen Jerome Eddy
Bette Midler plays The Rose, a female rock star strikingly similar to Janis Joplin. This movie 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. Though 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 A.W.O.L. Sergeant from the United States Army. Her rock and roll lifestyle of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and constant touring, lead her to an inevitable breakdown.Written by
R. John Berggren <email@example.com>
An Emotionally Moving Story With One Electrifying Performance
As a pumped-up, neurotic 1960s rock star named Rose, Bette Midler energizes this film with a soulful, emotional performance deserving of Oscar recognition. Midler animates the character so well that, paradoxically, she rather overwhelms the film's plot about a famous singer who nonetheless is insecure and fragile.
I would estimate that roughly a quarter of the film's runtime consists of Midler on-stage singing and performing in front of an audience of hundreds, and in one case thousands, of extras as part of a real-life concert. The technical logistics of putting together such a believable event is quite impressive, with multiple cameras, special effects, complex lighting, and in only one camera take.
The non-concert plot has Rose in various states of emotional highs and lows, mostly lows, as she laughs and cries, whines and moans, and argues and fights with those around her. This is a lady who is controlled by emotion, not reason or logic. She laughs one minute, cries the next, then laughs, then cries some more.
As such, the plot trends emotionally repetitive, though we as viewers sense that all this enormous gushing of raw feeling can't continue indefinitely. And thus with great effect, the film has a dramatic ending, one that combines character resolution with stunning visuals, followed by end credits set against the musical backdrop of Amanda McBroom's moving, hymn-like title song, "The Rose".
By far the best element of the film is Midler's electrifying performance. Yet, the concert footage and film editing are also impressive. The weak link is a plot that, though acceptable, seems anemic in comparison to Midler and the stunning visuals.
Inspired by the unnerving musical career of Janis Joplin, "The Rose" presents viewers with an emotionally moving story, character driven, that is set within an overall film production that is technically both competent and credible.
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