[Film Review] Rambling Rose (1991)

Title: Rambling Rose
Year: 1991
Country: USA
Language: English
Genre: Drama
Director: Martha Coolidge
Writer: Calder Willingham
Music: Elmer Bernstein
Cinematography: Johnny E. Jensen
Laura Dern
Robert Duvall
Diane Ladd
Lukas Haas
Kevin Conway
John Heard
Robert John Burke
Lisa Jakub
Evan Lockwood
Rating: 7.3/10

An ingenue nymphomaniac’s turbulent life rooted in the 1930s depression period of southern USA, served as a housemaid in a hotel owner’s home, our heroine Rose, an uncultured but stalwart gal whose miserable past is the hidden wound cuts her deep and being unaware of her sex-addicted disposition, her path of looking for Mr. Right is rather bumpy and poignant.

The film is narrated by Buddy, the eldest son of the hotel owner, Rose is his first love and always occupies a special place in his heart. Although Rose is the potent pillar of the film, female director Martha Coolidge has steadily integrates a handful of equally vivid characters (young Buddy, his Daddy and Mother) into a moderate template of channeling and rescuing Rose from her self-destructive hazard, despite of wanting any laudable gambits in highlighting the narrative skills and the plot is always stuck into a hoary frivolousness, the complete work is at best satisfactory.

The film is noteworthy by setting a record in the history of the academy by virtue of a real mother-daughter pair garners two Oscar nominations in the same film, Dern and Ladd (a second collaboration in a film after Lynch’s WILD AT HEART 1990) both showcase their stunning acting bent. Dern has nailed a quite innately delicate role since Rose is the damaged goods by nature, but her pure kindness and innocence hasn’t been impaired and her female vulnerability is the real gem under the circumstance, even if she would mature gracefully later and give a more challenging and nail-biting performance in Lynch’s INLAND EMPIRE (2006), this film is among the crests of her filmography nonetheless. Ladd, after the pompous and lavish turn in WILD AT HEART, unexpectedly chooses a more positive and orthodox good-lady embodiment, her award-worthy moment confidently present itself in the latter part of the film, and single-handedly salvaging Rose from the misogyny from seedy male-predominance. But Duvall is also glittering in his category-fraud (I put him in leading) portrait of a man who is much wiser than he initially appears, and a juvenile Lukas Haas, almost being provocative while driven by curious sex impulse to take advantage of Rose, which might be the most contentious segment of the film per se, and at least he acts like a pro.

My final conclusion is that regardless of its maternal inclination of female-skewing demography, it is indeed a thespian playing field with decent fodder.

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