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Rambling Rose

Where to Watch Rambling Rose

R
1991

Rambling Rose is a 1991 drama film that offers glimpses into a bygone era, touching on themes of nostalgia, societal change, and individual growth. The film is set in the 1930s, right in the middle of the Great Depression, in a small town in Georgia.

The Hillyers, a middle-class family with two children–go to great lengths to protect their young daughter Rose (Laura Dern) when they hire her to work as a live-in nanny. Rose is a carefree, unapologetic free spirit, and her open behavior and outspoken views soon become a source of concern for the Hillyers. Amidst rumors and gossip from the neighbors, her free-spirited ways lead to her being expelled from her school for leading a boy on.

As Rose starts to work for the family, her captivating beauty and youthful exuberance quickly endear her to the entire household, particularly to Daddy Hillyer (Robert Duvall). He takes a keen interest in her, and their relationship evolves into an unspoken moment of temptation. However, Mama Hillyer (Diane Ladd) is less impressed by Rose's free-spirited ways, but reluctantly agrees to let her stay on. However, despite their best efforts to keep Rose grounded, she finds herself alienating those around her due to her unique personality.

As the movie progresses, Rose's unpredictable behavior becomes more evident to the viewers, and we see her snatching the family's mail, casting off her clothes, and interfering in social affairs that are best left untouched. Her volatile ways put the family in emotional turmoil, and not even her bubbly personality can mask the challenges that arise as a result of her increasingly flippant nature.

Laura Dern's performance is a standout, and she brings to life the character's sense of innocence, naivety, and guilt in a way that only a talented actress could. The contrast between Rose's childlike views of the world and the harsh realities of life in the 1930s leads to a development in characters that is both bittersweet and moving.

Robert Duvall, who plays Daddy Hillyer, delivers a powerful performance, emphasizing the film's central conflict – the clash between traditional values and hedonistic ideals. They engage in debates over their personal values and beliefs, reflecting the social norms and cultural standards of the time.

Diane Ladd excels as Mama Hillyer, who is the film's voice of reason. She feels protective towards Rose and tries to help her mature, recognizing the impulse behind her impulsive and erratic behavior.

Wrapped up in lush cinematography and artful direction, Rambling Rose is a cinematic gem. It's a beautiful and poignant portrait of a young woman struggling to find her place in the world, a family in conflict, and an era changing rapidly. The film's period setting brilliantly captured the era's dress, mannerisms, and scenery, evoking strong nostalgia and feelings in the viewers.

The writing is thought-provoking and brings together a cast of memorable, fully-fleshed out characters. The film explores weighty themes such as morality, sexuality, and the human condition, buoyed by a script that is wry, sensitive, and empathetic.

Without giving too much away, it's safe to say that Rambling Rose offers a gorgeous snapshot of the past, serving as a reminder of how far we have come as a society in terms of social progress and ethical standards. It's a powerful and meaningful film that leaves a considerable impression, with remarkable performances from its lead actors backed by stunning storytelling, beautiful cinematography, and a powerful soundtrack.

Rambling Rose is a Drama movie released in 1991. It has a runtime of 112 min. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.6..

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6.6/10
Director
Martha Coolidge
Stars
Laura Dern, Robert Duvall, Diane Ladd, Lukas Haas, John Heard
Genres
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