I saw Rosemary’s Baby for the first time last night. This is not because of any aversion to horror movies. More from a rather strict upbringing where even simple movies like Big can turn in to an hour long debate about what is and is not appropriate for a “child” to watch.* Horror movies were a particular problem for her. Unless, of course, she wanted to watch one. Like when I watched Poltergeist with her. A friend of mine was over and since she talked about how much she liked the movie, my mom let us watch it. Only she made me cover my eyes every time anything even remotely scary came on the screen. I think I saw a clown and a blond girl. Oh, and a TV getting thrown out of a hotel room. I’m guessing it had a connection to the plot.
I’ve always wanted to see Rosemary’s Baby, since I’ve heard it’s a classic. It’s even referenced in the cinematography video I show my students. And I do have to say there are some great shots in the movie. Roman Polanski was a messed up man, but he had some cool shots and angles. I really like the one where Minnie is calling the doc on the phone and she’s partly off the screen talking to him. It establishes that she has something to hide, and it makes the audience want to bend their necks around the door to see what they are missing. He also uses some great high angles to show how powerless and naive Rosemary is. Not to mention the great costume choices that make Rosemary seem so child-like and innocent.
Now, I realize most horror movies have some sort of plot hole in them. And while I really liked the movie, there is something that bothers me. Once Rosemary figures out that All of Them Are Witches and decides to grab her bag and run, where does she go? To the doctor the couple she suspects of being the most powerful witches arranged for her to go to. WTF?
Sure, I get that the friend that enlightened her about the covens had two grandchildren delivered by the same doctor, so obviously he does have a reputable side to him. But still, she had to figure there was a chance he was in on it. He had the head witchy woman making her special herb shakes. Special herby shakes she knew had the devil’s herb in them. He let her spend MONTHS in pain, despite the fact that all her non-witchy friends told her it was inhumane and saddistic. When she told him she wouldn’t take anymore shakes, he gave her vitamin pills, despite the fact that only a few months before, he had insisted they were rubbish and that he held no stock in them.
And, as if this isn’t enough, when she reveals her discomfort about her elderly neighbors, he is able to get them to leave town. How does someone not intimately connected to the couple not only get invited to their old people only New Year’s celebration, but also get them to leave town at the drop of a hat?
Not to mention that when she wanted a second opinion, her husband, who she knows is in cohoots with the witches, FREAKS out and forbids her to go see anyone else. He actually says it would be unfair her witchy doc to go see anyone else.
And yet, this is the man she runs to when she fears everyone she loves and trusts is planning to eat her baby? Does she actually need 666 tatoo’d across the guy’s forhead? Or a sign on the door that reads doctor is out performing satanic rituals, be back at 1?
Don’t get me wrong, it was a good movie and I enjoyed it. It had fewer plot holes than many horror movies. And I like the fact that in the end, the impulse of motherhood has such a strong hold on Rosemary that it doesn’t even matter her baby is the son of the DEVIL. I’m not exactly sure if it is a commentary on the nature of good and evil or how important it was for the 60’s wife to put motherhood and domestic affairs above all else, but I liked it.
She may have been naive, but Rosemary was a good mom.
*Yes, this happened once. For my fourteenth birthday, my grandmother sent me some money. Somehow I managed to get my mom to agree to let my two best friends and me go to the mall…alone. She dropped us off and allowed us three hours to wander. After snacking in the food court, we got a little bored. One of my friends suggested we see a movie. After careful consideration–including the movie least likely to get me in trouble should my mom find out–we picked Big. After we were done, we did some quick shopping–bought an overpriced outfit and met my mom. The second we got in the car, she knew we’d been to the movie and started grilling us. She was pissed off and made it very clear. I got a lecture about lying and had to recount every possibly lurid detail of the movie for her to examine. Turns out one of my friends had actually lied to her mom to get some extra shopping money. Our moms talked and when her mom mentioned we were going to the movies, mine assumed I was the liar. She didn’t consider for one second that it might have been the girl who got kicked out of school because she’d gotten in to too many fights. Or the fact that her mother had been threatening to send her to live with relatives because she kept sneaking out of the house.
After doing some reading, she eventually told me it wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever done and that as long as I didn’t do it again, she could overlook it. After she humiliated me, of course.