Rosemary's Baby

Rosemary's Baby ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Rosemary's Baby is a really interesting movie for me.

In a lot of ways, it's a really rewarding film. The story follows Rosemary's whole pregnancy, charting her increasing paranoia as she suspects she's being taken advantage of by a coven of witches. In the end, we're not left wondering if she was right or not - we get full confirmation that she is right; the witches are real, they stole the baby, she gave birth to the Devil's child. That's insane! That's seriously insane!!!!!!!

After the movie, I'm talking with my boyfriend and he says that, as good as the movie is, he's not sure how much there is to it beyond the insane plot. He's essentially arguing that the narrative lacks sufficient depth to make rewatches.

I disagree, but I also don't think he's wrong. The film's climax takes place in great chaos - Rosemary locks herself in her apartment, trying to stay away from those trying to take advantage of. They end up getting in, she goes into labor due to panic, and they tie her to the bed and sedate her. The following scenes reveal that the baby was taking by the coven and it is, in fact, the devil's child. It's a great ending, but it removes any potential ambiguity from the story. This is not to say that ambiguity always breeds depth, but the thematic and narrative directness employed at the end of the film make it less about what it all means and more about how it all happened.

Ultimately, I think there is some depth to be discovered here, even with the lack of ambiguity. Rosemary's struggle is, textually, against the coven of witches. But consider what these witches represent - they operate as a sort of representative of/conduit for social injustices and institutional hierarchies that women experience. Think about this story at a higher level - Rosemary is a married woman who's husband is an aspiring actor. They move into this brand new apartment and her primary role is to take care of the apartment while he aims for success. This narrative is reinforced strongly throughout the first act as we see her around the apartment fixing it up, making adjustments, making it perfect. There is no talk of what Rosemary may aspire to, only the struggle that her husband faces in achieving what he wants. In the end, we learn that her husband chose to align with the coven - they promised him success in exchange for his wife's baby. Here we see, again, the prioritization of the man's desires over the woman's needs.

In the end, Rosemary's life has been completely warped by her husband's decision to side with the coven. She has devoted herself to birthing a child and so, to fulfill her desire for purpose, she goes against her better judgement to take care of the baby, despite the many implications that go along with that.

Sigh. I don't know...just some thoughts.

Aaron liked this review