THE ROSE introduces a hurricane named Bette Midler to the screen. Not since Barbra Streisand and “Funny Girl” has there been such an overwhelming debut. Midler sublimates her considerable talent as a comedienne to play straight in a role obviously patterned after the self-destructive Janis Joplin. So much for the good news Alas, the depiction of a superstar’s downhill race must necessarily prove depressing.
This is compounded by the fact that the filmmakers have provided no plot, only a series of unfulfilled vignettes. Alan Bates plays the Rose’s manager with the single aim of exploitation. Frederic Forrest is fairly sympathetic as the singer’s parttime chauffeur and lover.
The concert scenes are the real thing and will please the rock crowd. Next. Bette, something a little lighter, please.
Rated R. with much use of hard drugs and language. By BOB THOMAS.