Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby ★★★★★

Not Quite Hoop-Tober: Day 27

I'm really at a loss for words to describe how much I love Rosemary's Baby. I always hate when writers say that because it feels supremely disingenuous, but I genuinely don't know how to properly express my appreciation for this wonderful film. I could harp on the standard beats I usually go through: its cinematography is dizzying in its precision, Rosemary's character and Mia Farrow's performance are daunting in both their depth and complexity, and the way it presents fear of faith (in yourself and those around you) is as haunting as it is mesmerizing. But this isn't really what makes the movie great.

Sure, I could read it as an exploration of the horrors of the contemporary urban landscape (the film does open and close with a shot of the city skyline, after all), but you could read it any number of other ways as well. And even then, its polymorphous symbolism doesn't quite capture what's so perfect about it. I could tell you that what made me first fall in love with it was the way Roman Castevet cries "Hail Satan!" with so much authentic emotion. Or I could tell you that what I love about it now is Roman Polanski's effortlessly languid and delicate pacing. But none of these things completely captures the film in its entirety.

I can even say that Rosemary's Baby is simply greater than the sum of its parts, which is no small feat considering that its parts in isolation are already so much greater than most films can manage. But even here, this tried and tired cliché feels inadequate to describe this masterpiece of horror cinema.

What I can tell you for certain is the reason this wasn't quite a perfect experience for me: Rosemary is just too credulous. I understand that the film is about belief in much more than just the religious sense, but there are simply too many situations where she should know better. I'm not saying it's without purpose, it just also puts a damper on my enjoyment. Why does she trust Dr. Sapirstein after she begins to question the drink he recommended? Why does she go back to trusting Minnie so quickly after her pain disappears? Why does she trust her husband after all the weird things he does?

Anyway, it's a relatively small problem in comparison to the perfection of the rest of the film.

And still I've gotten nowhere. This is why I usually do short reviews for films like this.

Not Quite Hoop-Tober
2014: All Together

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