.

The War of the Roses

Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner

Directed by Danny De Vito
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
December 8, 1989

"What fresh hell is this?" asks Kathleen Turner, her eyes bulging with trepidation. No, she's not a film critic still reeling from the claptrap released since Thanksgiving (Harlem Nights, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and the soulless sequel to Back to the Future).

Turner is playing Barbara Rose, a neglected wife who wants out of her seventeen-year marriage to her lawyer husband, Oliver (Michael Douglas). There's a catch: Both Roses want to keep the elegant Washington, D.C., house in which they watched their love turn to indifference and then open hatred. Packing their two teenagers off to school, the Roses divide their home into a battle zone.

Under the astute direction of Danny DeVito, who does a sly turn as Oliver's attorney, this acid-dipped epic of revenge is killingly funny and dramatically daring. Turner and Douglas are terrific, delineating the conquest of emotion over reason with chilling exactitude. The Roses aren't likable, but they are recognizably real.

In his second film as a director, following the uneven Throw Momma From the Train, DeVito sharpens every barb in the wily script Michael Leeson has adapted from Warren Adler's novel. Some may recoil at the shocking extremes to which DeVito takes this modern cautionary fable of greed. An epilogue simplistically spells out the moral. It's unnecessary. DeVito triumphs by instilling this caustic satire with truth and consequence.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Santa Monica”

    Everclear | 1996

    After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com