Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

was the next step in our exploration of Roman Polanski. So far, the last, too. Maybe we'll keep going; who knows?

We ended up watching this on Thanksgiving morning, instead of the parades. An odd choice, maybe, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Because we're thankful we don't have children? was the joke of the day.

It was only a joke, but it's the most insightful thing I can think of to say about the film. It's not really a horror film at all, I came away thinking, but a sort of very dark comedy about trying to start a family in the big city.

Rosemary is the country waif in the big city (although there's no way in heaven, hell or Houston that Mia Farrow sounds like she's from Omaha), just starting out on life with her husband the actor. They find a nice apartment - that turns out to be in a building full of devil worshipers. Read "wild partiers" for "devil worshipers" and don't you have every renter's fear? Her husband's career is on the move, but it turns out that's only because he sold her baby. Read "his soul" for "her baby" and don't you have...oh wait, that's still a horror movie. But it's a more conventional one, and also a pretty good description of the compromises we all make to get ahead, the compromises a sheltered young wife (in 1965) might fear her husband is making, compromises that will compromise her too. She gets pregnant, and then it seems like everyone around her including the doctor is colluding to make her life hell - you don't have to read anything for anything to see that as reflecting a deep anxiety about pregnancy, the pain and uncertainty it brings with it, the doctor who tells you to just trust him, that he knows your body better than you do, and oh yeah, anxiety about this invader that's taken up residence in your body...

It's a very funny movie.

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