BootLeg Betty

BetteBack February 27, 1980: “The Rose” is a knockout

Roswell Daily Record
February 27, 1980


Once upon a time there was a beautiful, cheerleading, contest winning, sugar and spice campus queen with perfect teeth and perfect aspirations.

She didn’t grow up to be “The Rose” and perhaps only those thousands of women who never quite lived up to that All-American dream personified by Bo Derek and Phyllis George will really understand what this film is all about.

Ostensibly about rock ‘n’ roll, booze and drugs and the desperation of stardom, “The Rose” is more truly the story of what America does to it’s bright, talented and less than attractive females.

It’s an ugly film. It is coarse and raucous and stomach-turning. It contains one of the best performances of the year and one of the most underrated scripts. It’s a must for viewers who don’t like their reality masked with
motherhood and apple pie.

But if your favorite television programs are “The Waltons” and “Charlie’s Angels,” chances are you’ll be better off staying in your livingroom.

Now playing at The Cinema, “The Rose” is an incredible tour de force for Bette Midler in her first major role. The consummate performer, Ms. Midler has taken an Impossibly difficult role in which she portrays one of film’s most irritatingly obnoxious characters and somehow makes us care.

That she is Rose is evident. She is, of course, almost painfully ugly, as well as brash and bfowsy, more than a little insane, impossible to live with, inevitably impossible to love. A loser, baby. That’s what Rose is. Don’t let the million dollar stardom fool you. Rose was programmed to be a loser. By us.

Much of the film is taken up by her “triumphant” return to her home town, a triumph she has sought for years, providing her with that nosethumbing opportunity of a lifetime.

Haven’t some of us been there ourselves, if only in our daydreams? Isn’t there an old classmate or two you’d like to shower with your success as he stands there before you, beer-bellied and bluecollared? Isn’t there a little bit of Rose in quite a few of us?

“The Rose” is a knockout. And what it kills is The American Dream.

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