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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Rambling Rose (1991)


Innocence has never been so seductive.

Societies regard single, attractive, sexually available women with both idolization and uneasiness. The lust, envy, jealousy and otherwise tumultuous passions surrounding their passage through the populace can be disruptive of societal bonds, e.g. by "homewrecking", even though no fault of their own. One reason why the concept, at least, of marriage is valued so highly is that this cultural arrangement takes the problematic single female out of circulation, so to speak. And, social pressures cause opprobrium to be heaped on "loose women", even by the very men who are drawn to them. Of course, the feminist correctly sees these attitudes as blatantly sexist. However, even western culture's most chauvinistic pig is likely to regard the veiling and segregation of women in fundamentalist Islamic societies, for example, as an unacceptably extreme manifestation of those same attitudes.

RAMBLING ROSE takes a compassionate look at the phenomenon of social turbulence caused by an "unattached" woman. Rose, flamboyantly played by Laura Dern, is the blithe, single, 19-year old girl invited to live with a very proper Southern family in the mid-1930s. The family, offering Rose help at this difficult time in her life, includes Daddy (Robert Duvall), Mother (Diane Ladd, Dern's real-life mother), and 13-year old Buddy (Lukas Haas). Rose, already possessing a checkered history acquired with unspecified men, is a sexual "free spirit", who proceeds to cause hormonal havoc in the town's male population. Even Daddy is bewitched. To Buddy, Rose is, unsurprisingly, the godsend of a new awareness. Of the adults, only Mother, recognizing Rose as essentially guileless, staunchly defends her as the repercussions of the Siren's residence start to add up.

A better film on much the same theme is Y2K's MALENA - a superb Italian production. Nonetheless, RAMBLING ROSE is delightful. Dern is positively captivating. Duvall is at his best, which is pretty darn good by any measure. Ladd portrays Mother as a slightly eccentric individual whose generosity towards and understanding of Rose is a clear counterpoint to the hardening attitudes of the other adults. The Buddy character should remind all males in the viewing audience of that time when they were 13 and discovering girls as beings with something more to offer than simply opportunities for boorish teasing. I like this film immensely. By Joseph Haschka









Torrent : here
All subs: here (only English available)

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