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ROSEMARY'S BABY

ROSEMARY'S BABY1968
Not Rated

Sometimes, even when you know what's coming, a movie can take you by complete surprise and utterly floor you...

Rosemary's Baby is a 1968 psychological mystery that centers around Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and her husband Guy (John Cassavetes). After moving into a new apartment, the young couple soon make friends with an elderly couple - Minnie (Ruth Gordon) and Roman Castevet (Sidney Blackmer) - who live on the same floor. Soon thereafter, a whirlwind of change strikes the couple: Guy, an aspiring actor, lands a part in a play when his main competition suddenly goes blind, and Rosemary learns that she has, at long last, become pregnant. Overjoyed, Guy elects to inform the Castevet's of the good news, and they quickly devote their services to Rosemary, including striking a bargain with a doctor friend. As Rosemary's pregnancy goes forward, she starts to feel as though things are not quite right. Her doctor has given her an assortment of herbal-remedy prescriptions that vary drastically from the commonplace drugs normally given to women with child. Through the ups and downs of her somewhat unstable pregnancy, Rosemary begins to develop a deep-seated paranoia towards everyone around her, fearing for her own safety as well as the safety of her unborn child.

Now, I'm not very well-versed in the annals of Roman Polanski's filmography (as I have openly admitted in my review of his 2010 film, The Ghost Writer), but I think that I'm starting to get a little better feel for his work. This being only the third of his films that I've been able to see, I'm by no means an expert, but I think I've come to know just what to expect out of a Polanski feature. And if Rosemary's Baby is any indication of the man's ability, then perhaps I should have been expecting much, much more from him. It's positively spectacular.

Mia Farrow is an absolute revelation as our leading lady, taking us through every step of her pregnancy, through the ups and the downs and the (in)sanity in-between. Although she does get a little over-the-top (for my liking) at times, she's mostly pitch-perfect, as is most of the cast. In the beginning of the film, I had issue with both Sidney Blackmer and Ruth Gordon (who won an Oscar for her supporting role) as their characters simply seemed too out of place within the film. However, as time went by, their boisterous personalities seeped in, blending perfectly into the background.

And then we've got the screenplay... Polanski adapted it from Ira Levin's 1967 novel of the same name, and boy does it pack a punch. It starts out a little bit slow, to the point where I contemplated giving up on the film in the early going. However, it's reputation kept me watching, and I'm glad that I did. Polanski crafts a tightly-wound screenplay that literally winds you up then sends you spinning for the film's climax. We've got issues with claustrophobia and paranoia and a slew of other psychology-related problems that we almost become totally numb to the experience. Until the ending, that is. Polanski gives us a true catharsis, but it's not really one that many people are going to like. I feel as though the ending is a real love-it-or-hate-it, but you will only love it if you can appreciate the beauty behind the storytelling. I hope that makes sense, but I apologize if I'm rambling and spouting nonsense.

Rosemary's Baby is not a horror film in that it's going to scare you, but it will probably leave you rather horrified with its final few sequences. As I previously mentioned, I already knew how the film would essentially end (the broad strokes, at least), but that did not take away my sense of awe and wonder with the climactic moments. I'm not quite shaking, but there are slight vibrations running through my arms as I type this post. Rosemary's Baby is horrific. Rosemary's Baby is haunting. Rosemary's Baby is a must-see.

Movie Review Summary:Grade: A
Current All-Time Rank: Best - #49
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