Tuesday, August 10, 2010

#168 Rosemary's Baby (1968)


Director: Roman Polanski

Cast: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer, Maurice Evans, Ralph Bellamy, Victoria Vetri

With her sunken-in cheeks, translucent skin, and mod dresses, Mia Farrow glimmers in Rosemary's Baby as perhaps one of the most innocent and tortured victims of evil in horror movie history. Excited to begin her life in her new NYC apartment with her handsome actor husband, Rosemary Woodhouse (Farrow) occupies her days redecorating and entertaining the older and somewhat eccentric neighbors. When she and her husband decide to try for a baby, the neighbors seem to become more involved in her life than ever, taking their 'helpfulness' to a whole new level of creepy.

As her pregnancy escalates, Rosemary gets sicker and sicker, and she begins to question those that are supposed to be watching out for her. The ever-looming presence of evil both for the viewer and the star of the film never wavers, and it becomes a suspense to the end-- what really is wrong with Rosemary's baby?

I enjoyed the film-- it was an easy watch. Though horrific and skin-crawling at times, it was presented more in the form of a mystery rather than an all-out exocist, slasher, suspense horror. One of the attributes of this film most consistently noted in my film book is Polanski's knack for pacing when telling this story. I have to agree and say that I found it appropriate--the slow on-slaught of things-not-quite-right lead to the ending being both not surprising and yet completely shocking.

My gut reaction to the ending was. "Really?" I felt let down with the anti-climax and ambiguity. But now since a day has passed since my initial viewing of the film, I feel much better about it. I guess it's in our nature to want the inertia of the film to carry us to a conclusive ending. The look in Rosemary's eyes as she thought long and hard about mothering her child is certainly something to leave a lasting impression-- and that is what makes a great film.

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