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War of the Roses

Black comedy about an 18-year old marriage gone awry, starring Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner

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Gets under your skin, but leaves you with questions

  • Jul 12, 2010

What Pompted You to write a Review?
I had wanted to write a review about this movie since I saw it, but did not have a place I felt I could express myself fully.

How was the Plot, Acting, Direction?
The acting by Douglas and Turner were great.  They showed how a couple could hate each other to the core.  However, with that said, their script did not do a very good job showing how this hatred developed.  It seemed to have come on strong mainly towards the end of the marriage.

The use of Sean Astin and Heather Fairfield was wasted as their children.  I did not think that they added to the plot line in the way the story was constructed.  These are both excellent actors and could have be used more in the story line.

DeVito did a good job with the comic timing and the overall feel of the piece.  I think he should have worked more with the writers on the storyline to make the movie seem more logical and flow better.

The movie was entertaining with the fight scenes by the main characters.  However, in the back of my mind I could not understand how they could come to hate each other so much.

Did It Fulfill Expectations? Hype Level?
It was a bit disappointing because I could not fully get into the movie.  Yes, it was very funny, but it I could not see how the couple had come to dislike each other so much that they were so violent towards each other.

Did a Movie Trailer Establish a HYPE?

Yes, the movie trailer did a good job of establishing the hype.  However, when I was watching the film, I expected to have an explanation of why the Roses had come to the point in the marriage they were at.

Is This Movie Mainstream Or Pretty Obscure?

This is a very mainstream movie.

Let Your Senses and Imagination Go Wild!

I personally enjoy the works of Douglas and Turner both together and as individual actors.  They are both very strong performers and know how to mix serious with comedy as well as do this while in very precarious situations.  This is why they were great for this movie.

Visually, I liked how DeVito chose to use low lighting for this movie.  It added to the sinister feeling of the movie.  The beige color scheme also helped with this feeling as well as that the marriage was on the skids.

My biggest complaint is that even with the visualization and a short set up saying that the marriage had gotten boring, it still did not seem to be enough justification for the violence the married couple showed towards each other.  There needed to have been more of a build up like maybe a montage before for the film showing how bad feelings had begun to escalate between the couple over the years.

I also wished that they had used the couple's children more in the film.  I could understand it if the actors chosen for these roles were weak actors, but both of them are very good actors who had experience in film prior to this one.

Above all, Establish Your Star Rating 1-5 Or 1-10?

This is a seven out of ten stars.

Define what the Star rating mean to you...

This movie was entertaining and I would recommend it, but it left me with a lot of questions and had a bit too much violence for the premise of the storyline.

How would you recommend the movie?

I would recommend this movie to people who did not want to have to think about much while they were watching this film.  People who are undergoing some sort of stress in their personal life should avoid it.

What did you think of this review?

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More War of the Roses reviews
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Strong performances, but the story line does not quite work.
Quick Tip by . August 30, 2009
The War of the Roses- black comedy- an 18-year marriage gone awry, hilarious/ dark- great performances-Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas
review by . May 30, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
I have heard of this movie before but I had no idea what kind of a ride I was about to be taken on and let me tell you this flick is crazy! Here you have a man and a woman who have a good marriage and suddenly it goes kablam! They are like the ham and cheese cafeteria sandwich cut in half and placed with their backs to each other; the angry lovers on opposite sides of the bed...    Watching Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner slowly descended to a discord in their relationship, …
review by . December 08, 2003
I won't rehash the plot. It's simply a wonderfully observed crumbling of a marriage probably never built on the healthiest of foundations in the first place. One could say that the movie is perhaps an indictment of materialism, where we see Kathleen Turner's character finally turning bitter when she's done all the decorating she can, and Michael Douglas is too busy earning money to care that his wife is feeling empty now. Whose fault is it that the marriage is a shambles? Did Douglas continue to …
review by . September 09, 2000
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: The Queen of Black Comedies!     Cons: The fish course is ruined!     This is the movie for die hard fanatics of black comedy! None of that wimping out at the end and leaving you with a happy ending, No Sir!       We follow the lives of this once happy couple from their humble beginnings to their very bitter ends!Plates fly at life threatening speeds! Her big black truck eats his little classic car! She even makes him believe she …
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Gwynne Osaki ()
Ranked #277
Member Since: Jul 12, 2010
Last Login: Jul 24, 2014 03:59 AM UTC
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About this movie


Danny DeVito directs this black comedy about a long-married couple in the throes of divorce at the height of the materialistic 1980s, and his second feature far surpasses his first effort, THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN, in style, substance, and comedic impact. Barbara and Oliver Rose were the perfect couple--he was a prominent Washington lawyer, she had a wildly successful catering business, they had a great house, great art, great cars and great kids. But when Barbara begins to wonder about life without Oliver, she likes what she sees and sues for divorce; unfortunately, neither of them likes the prospect of life without their opulent home, and war is waged to determine who will keep it. The pair become increasingly outlandish in their battle tactics, moving from cunning to cruel to outright surreal, and DeVito's camera echoes this mood with its unorthodox angles and movement. DeVito himself narrates the action as Oliver Rose's lawyer, and Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas prove once again their chemistr...
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Director: Danny DeVito
Release Date: 1989
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Michael Leeson, Warren Adler
DVD Release Date: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (December 18, 2001)
Runtime: 1hr 56min
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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