The Ballad of Jack & Rose

"Weak"

The Ballad of Jack & Rose Review


"The Ballad of Jack and Rose" concerns several strange characterswho just scream for something strange and unusual to say. But writer/directorRebecca Miller, daughter of playwright Arthur Miller, only gives them themost ordinary, mundane movie dialogue imaginable.

Miller sets her story, about an ailing father (Daniel Day-Lewis)and his teenage daughter (Camilla Belle), in and around an abandoned 1970shippie commune.

Father Jack and daughter Rose have lived an isolated life,farming and building tree forts, and have turned out rather odd.

Jack ordinarily spends a good deal of time railing againstan evil housing developer (Beau Bridges) who is looking to spoil the island.But for a change of pace, he impulsively invites his secret lover, Kathleen(Catherine Keener), and her two sons, chunky Rodney (Ryan McDonald) andthuggish Thaddius (Paul Dano) to move in. Although this new trio has notbeen raised in a commune, they're just as troubled as Jack and Rose, andtalk just as blandly.

With the setting established, Miller utterly fails to usethe physical space to explore the relationships between her characters.She shows hills, gardens, basements and skylines, and slaps together montagesset to old Bob Dylan songs: Jack and Rose pick berries, the wind blows,a caterpillar crawls, etc.

Were these peculiar characters taken out of their realisticenvironment and given more stylized and poetic things to say, Miller wouldalmost have the makings of a good stage play. Anything is better than Thaddeus'sreaction when Rose suddenly runs off to go skinny-dipping: "wild thing..."

Only Ryan McDonald as the overweight Rodney clues in onhis character's soul. He wears an ever-present orange windbreaker and useshis bookish wit to defend himself against ridicule. McDonald's sly line-readingsare funny while betraying a little of the character's misery.

The leads do not fare as well. Lovely Camilla Belle hasa delightful smiling twinkle in her eye, but her character wanders allover the map -- especially during the movie's uncertain climactic moment-- and there's little the actress can do to correct this trajectory.

To convey his character's heart disease, Day-Lewis getsto lose weight, walk with a stoop, wheeze and wear pasty makeup. It's ashow-off performance meant for awards season, and Day-Lewis doesn't quitefind the center.

Miller's previous film, "PersonalVelocity," worked on a more intimate level,staying close to its three truthful characters. Here she has tried to raisethe bar, but has missed out on the simple things.



Facts and Figures

Box Office Worldwide: $712.3 thousand

Budget: $1.5M

Production compaines: Jack and Rose Productions, IFC Productions, Initial Entertainment Group (IEG), Elevation Filmworks

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis as Jack Slavin, as Rose Slavin, as Kathleen, as Rodney, as Thaddius, as Gray, as Red Berry, as Marty Rance, as Miriam Rance

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

On the Road Movie Review

On the Road Movie Review

Wolf Alice fans are likely to be rather disappointed by this hybrid documentary-drama about the...

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Borg/McEnroe Movie Review

Skilfully made by Swedish filmmaker Janus Metz (the award-winning Armadillo), this film is essentially a...

Advertisement
The Glass Castle Movie Review

The Glass Castle Movie Review

There are quite a few terrific moments in this true story, based on the memoir...

Home Again Movie Review

Home Again Movie Review

Reese Witherspoon is so likeable that she can carry even the most hackneyed of romantic...

Brimstone Movie Review

Brimstone Movie Review

An unnerving Western with a sharp female perspective, this film is a series of gruesome...

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Kingsman: The Golden Circle Movie Review

Two years ago, Kingsman: The Secret Service seemed to come out of nowhere, ruffling feathers...

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

Goodbye Christopher Robin Movie Review

This biopic about Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne may look like the usual lushly...

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.