movie reviews

Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – Review

rosemary
A young  married couple, Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy Woodhouse (John Casavettes) move into a notorious New York City apartment building.  They meet and befriend their neighbours,  an older couple, Minnie (Ruth Gordon) and Roman Castevet (Sidney Blackmer).   The young couple is planning to start a family soon and Guy treats Rosemary to a special dinner.  That night she has very strange nightmares.  Shortly thereafter she  finds out that she is pregnant. She switches doctors to Dr Sapirstein, a family friend of the Castevets. He gives her strange advice about her pregnancy. Hutch, an old friend of the Woodhouses is concerned about Rosemary and becomes suspicious of her naigbours. He asks Rosemary to meet him but he never shows up for the meeting…

 

Rosemary’s Baby is well crafted, with many “plants” and “payoffs”. It  is packed with detail and soaked in irony. It is a psychological rather than a visual attack. There are no prosthetic demons or elaborate masked monsters (this was before CGI), except for a few flashes. The images are not excessively gory. There is no one hacking off limbs or poking out eyeballs. There is no throwing up green gunk or spinning heads.  The only cheesy thing about this movie is some of the wardrobe and the phony sweetness of the apartment dwellers.

As far as horror movies go, I think Rosemary’s Baby works very well. It is technically well executed and has enough layers to be a well-rounded film. Psychologically it works very well and it stays with the viewer for a long time.  It’s a disturbing look at the fragility of trust. Is all this really happening or is it all in Rosemary’s head.

***

Rosemary’s Baby was several awards. Ruth Gordon won the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role as Minnie Castevet.

Director: Roman Polanski
Screenplay: Roman Polanski (based on a novel by Ira Levin)
Running time: 131 minutes

 

 

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