Reviews of this particular film address the film's neglect of a desperate lonely woman. Because of this neglect the the reviews for the most part lack sympathy for the downfall of the heroine.
Kehr, David. “The Rose.” The Chicago Reader
Kehr’s comments that the film has no sympathy for the main character and no attachment to the time period. Kehr says that the film uses the main character pornographically and degrades her, especially in a situation that is highly emotional, and claims that the film's director, Mark Rydell, is more concerned with the suffering than the individual who suffers. Kehr does not suggest a very positive opinion of the film.
Kroll, Jack. “Hippie-Freak Queen.” Newsweek 12 November 1979: 107.
For Kroll the character of “Rose” is clearly based on the life of the late Janis Joplin. Kroll also claims that the main character in this film is a representation of the other rock deities of the time, including Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix. Rydell distorts the character to a level that is coarse to some extent. The film “tramples over a young woman who needs love the way a desert needs water.” This film only touches on Rose’s consuming need to feel loved. Kroll makes the connection between Rose and Janis that few others make, including influential music, bisexuality, as well as drugs and alcohol.
Arnold, Gary. “The Bloom’s Off; And So’s the Bette, in Midler’s New ‘Rose.’”
Washington Post 8 November 1979: F1.
Arnold feels no sympathy for the character Rose. He says it would be a crime if this role did not appear on Saturday Night Live. He feels that Rose is self-destructive and therefore deserves to be tossed out. This review claims that Rose’s final downfall is very predictable. Arnold also makes a point in this review to touch on Rudge Cambell, played by Alan Bates, as her ruthless manager who cared very little about Rose and the shape she was in, physically and emotionally. Midler tries to promote some sympathy in this role at the finale of the film, with her one-sided conversation with her parents. The audience hears only her voice, to echo the loneliness in her life.
Martin, Judith. “The Rise of ‘The Rose.’” Washington Post 9 November 1979: 32.
The cause Rose's death is the relentless demand of her career. This phenomenon was not dissimilar from other icons who came before and those who have followed. In all her acts off screen, Rose curses and is violent. Martin points out that at the end of the film a picture of her as a child is tacked to the wall of the garage, along with other famous figures who have lost their lives such as James Dean, a closer look of the wall reveals Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, and Janis Joplin.
Overall the reviews are much more negative of the film than are to be appreciated. The reviewers for the most part do not feel an emotional attachment to the loneliness of The Rose, because the film chooses to ignore it.
Copyright (c) 2001 Jessica Roche, Graduate Student at Lehigh University.
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