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Review: The Rose

The Examiner
‘The Rose‘ is very good
April 5, 2016

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The theatrical world is anxiously awaiting the revival of the classic musical “Hello Dolly,” starring now 70 year-old Bette Midler in the role made famous by Carol Channing. Dolly is a diva, but Midler she got her film start by playing a very different kind of diva than Dolly Levi. Her first character of note, “The Rose,” was a self-destructive but extraordinarily talented rock and roller.

“The Rose” is loosely based on the life of the hard rock heroine Janis Joplin. Bette Midler plays Mary Rose Foster, a Southern girl who escapes to the city to pursue her musical career. With a distinctive voice and blues attitude, she shoots to the top of the record charts. But she comes to love drugs and alcohol more than her music. Basically insecure about her social and love lives, she does a lousy job of picking friends and lovers. Her manager is Rudge Campbell (played by Alan Bates), who is greedy. On the rebound from a failed affair with a fellow musician, Rose has a relationship with a limo driver, Houston Dyer (played by Frederic Forrest). She is very excited about going back to her hometown in Florida as star. As the story progresses, Rose becomes more and more exhausted and gets increasingly closer to a breakdown.

“The Rose” shows the similarities between the lives of Rose and Janis Joplin. It is depressing as we know it will not have a happy ending. But it is still fascinating to see the personal life of a rock star and how her life spins out of control.

Bette Midler captures Rose’s talents as well as her shortcomings. Frederic Forrest is equally good as Houston Dyer, her love interest. Both actors earned well-deserved Academy Award nominations for their performances.

“The Rose” is a solid choice for people interested in the history of rock music. It is also a good selection for fans of Bette Midler.

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