What a peculiar blend of (relative) sexual frankness and sentimental nostalgia. It’s like a Norman Rockwell oil painting of a 13-year-old boy finger-fucking an adult sexual-abuse survivor.
It’s impressive that Laura Dern brings out the depth in Rose. It’s all in the script, along with much sanctimony from both sides, but Dern cuts through a lot of crap to spotlight the character’s irrepressible, sometimes deluded optimism. She brings a palpable joy to the performance.
But she’s fighting a movie that’s trying to reduce Rose’s most reckless decisions into wistful fodder for a boy’s coming-of-age narrative. In my eyes, Dern wins out, but not without a consistent parade of puzzling distractions surrounding her.
The score is by the legendary Elmer Bernstein.…