The Rose (1979)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 1979.  Twentieth Century Fox.  Story by , Screenplay by , Bill Kerby.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , . Academy Awards 1979.  Golden Globe Awards 1979New York Film Critics Awards 1979.  

Thinly veiled biography of Janis Joplin is also the screen debut of the marvelous Bette Midler. She plays a tough-talking, fast-living rock singer whose combination of hard-hitting soul and rock-n-roll have made her the toast of the airwaves and concert stages. Behind the scenes, however, she is beset by depression and a sore lack of intimacy with anyone around her. Midler’s energy never flails for a moment, and she really puts across quite an impressive performance that is unlike anything she’s done onscreen since. Also amazing is the collection of songs, some new and some standards, that she sings beautifully on the soundtrack.  Frederic Forrest is terrific as her best friend and Alan Bates (in the only film he ever shot in America) effective as her manager. The screenplay tends to ride on a few too many biography cliches, but director Mark Rydell keeps it bumping along steadily enough to avoid their actually being too much of a problem.

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