Home > Feminism, Movie, Review, Society > Movie Review: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Movie Review: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

I love horror films, and I’d been meaning to watch this classic for quite some time.  Netflix is so good for making you finally get around to seeing movies you’ve always meant to see.

posterrosemarysbabySummary:
Rosemary and her actor husband move into a new apartment despite protestations from a friend that the building has a bit of a history of odd things happening.  Their new neighbors are a friendly, elderly couple.  In fact, Rosemary finds them to be a bit too friendly, but her husband likes them and insists the friendship be kept up.  Soon Rosemary is pregnant, but there is something odd about her pregnancy she can’t quite put her finger on until it is too late.

Review:
This is the type of horror story I love.  Something sinister lurking in the background of the main character’s life.  Everyone around her telling her she’s the crazy one or that she’s paranoid with only the main character and the viewer seeing what’s really going on.  This gives such a different scared vibe than the more typical, oh we’re in a scary hotel room for one night ahhh.

The cinematography has that classic 1960s feel that I personally love.  Maybe there’s a technical term for it, I don’t know, but it’s that awkward shot.  Instead of every shot being perfectly clean cut like in modern films, the actors aren’t always in center and focused.  People are off to the side.  It gives almost a mockumentary film feeling without any of those staged interviews.

Mia Farrow’s acting is truly excellent.  Her facial expressions show the wheels turning in her head even when other characters are in the room with Rosemary.  You can see how Rosemary senses something is wrong, yet she isn’t sure what exactly.

Ruth Gordon, playing the elderly neighbor woman, also offers up an excellent acting job.  She plays to perfection that horribly annoying elderly woman who everyone else finds delightful but you just want to stop touching your throw pillows.  It may seem like an easy part to play, but it is a fine line to walk, and she executes it perfectly.

I think what kept me from loving the movie as opposed to just really liking it were the odd dream sequences.  These too have a classic 1960s feel, but not in a good way.   They feel fake, and jerked me out of the world I had been sucked into.  I think most of the dream sequences could have been done without.

There is no way to discuss the social commentary this movie makes without giving away a massive spoiler, so let me just say that women’s agency is central to the plot of this film and is one of the main reasons I liked it.

If you enjoy horror, 1960s cinematography, or subtle social commentary, you will enjoy this film.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Netflix

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  1. November 9, 2009 at 10:52 am

    I loved your review. I may offer some defense for Polanski in regards to the dream sequences. The fact that you were removed from the world of the film (that he masterfully draws the viewer in to) is the intended effect of the dream.

    • November 9, 2009 at 1:03 pm

      Thanks for stopping by!
      While it indeed may have been Polanski’s intent to draw us out of the world with the dream sequences, I would argue that that intent is faulty. For me, it lessened my enjoyment of the film, reminding me that I was sitting in my living room watching a movie, instead of remaining part of the world.

      • November 9, 2009 at 7:19 pm

        admittedly I am not a fan of the dream sequence either and your reasoning makes perfect sense to me

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