Film #26 of 2013: The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005)

IMDB Rating: 6.7/10

“We should never have let the world in.”

The Ballad of Jack and Rose is drama film written and directed by Rebecca Miller, and starring her husband Daniel Day-Lewis. 

It also stars Camilla Belle (When A Stranger Calls, The Quiet) who can her own against the superb Daniel Day-Lewis. Shockingly (for a film buff) this is only my second encounter with DDL. The only other film I saw him in was Gangs of New York, and that was so long ago I barely remember it. But seeing him in this has made me want to watch all his films, he has won me over!

I can’t believe I never knew until now that this special project was filmed close to my neck of the woods – Rock Barra Prince Edward Island, Canada! You can even see a Canadian Tire store in one scene! Another neat little thing I picked up on was that it featured a “copperhead” snake. Copperhead is another film that has been shot in The Maritimes. It also takes place in 1986 – the same year both Camille and I were born (coincidence, I think not!)

The Ballad of Jack and Rose (Titantic anyone?) is an unusual, offbeat, thoroughly “indie” movie, and it’s definitely worth seeing for the contrast of typical Hollywood nothingness. The film tells the story of an environmentalist and his teenage daughter who live alone on a secluded island commune. Nothing lasts for ever, and here it’s Jack’s failing health and Rose’s growing up that threaten the status quo. It takes an in depth look at Jack’s attempt to patch up his way of life that is falling apart, much like the commune house itself.

This is the type of film that you will either love or hate. I thought it was a beautiful film. I heap praise for this quirky bit of avant-garde film-making. Rebecca Miller takes a thought provoking look at the situation and doesn’t flinch at tackling uncomfortable themes. Although I didn’t think it was that provocative. Overall, it’s a touching and intense look at the bond between a father and daughter, without all of that stuff people may make it out to be. They just have a very deep and complicated relationship. Rose’s and Jack’s many emotions are shown on their faces, a testament to the actors.  Miller should be congratulated for making us care for what will happen to Jack and Rose and for the magnificent performances she got from her cast. The music by Michael Rohatyn also adds another layer to the film, with each choice of music being perfect to fit each scene.

9/10 (Superb)

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