The Ballad of Jack & Rose Review

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Jack (Daniel Day-Lewis in an excellent performance) and his 16 year old daughter Rose (Camilla Belle, who played the young Sandra Bullock character in Practical Magic) are living in an island commune off Connecticut. They live there without TV, limited use of electricity, and just isolated from everything. They even have the phone unplugged in a box, and they connect it only when they need to use it.
They have a very close relation, to the point where we're not actually sure they are father and daughter when the movie starts, and during the whole running time of The Ballad of Jack and Rose, written and directed by Rebecca Miller, we see hints of incest, and though those hits were kind of distracting me at times, the movie is not about that, is about innocence, and a father and daughter that love each other deeply.

During the first minutes of the movie we learn that Jack is having heart problems and is going to die. And it could be soon. Their close relation makes Rose say she'll die too when her father dies, to which he makes her promise she wont kill herself. She replies she'll try.
We also learn that Rose has been out of school since she was 11, and Jack has home-schooled her since then. They don't go to they mainland much, together that is, because Jack does go there, and he even has a girlfriend named Kathleen (Katherine Keener). Jack knows Rose is growing up and she wants to experience new things, so he invites Kathleen and her 2 sons to move in with him and Rose as an experiment as he says. They soon move in, much to the surprise of Rose, who didn't even know about his father having a girlfriend before they get there. This brings much complications, mostly a jealous Rose, who turns her life around and becomes a free spirit, cutting her long beautiful hair, losing her virginity to one of Kathleen sons (trying with both) and even bringing home a snake to maybe hurt Kathleen.

The story then goes back to the father-daughter relation and finishes on a high note with Jack coming to terms with the idea of progression on the island, thanks to a subplot showing the hippie and idealist Jack fighting Beau Bridges who plays developer building new houses on the island.

The father-daughter story is great, despite having many long scenes with only dialog coming out of Daniel Day-Lewis which I found boring and slow at times. But my main problem is that there is too much happening when the strangers move in and though that brings a much needed energy to the movie, I think it would have worked better without it, even though it would have probably been a 2 hours and 18 minutes borefest.

Overall, the performances are excellent, and I know it's a very good movie, but I just couldn't get myself to like it.

Review by Hakeem


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