The Ballad of Jack and Rose
Directed by Rebecca Miller
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Camilla Belle, Catherine Keener, Paul Dano
It’s hard to remain objective when I watch Daniel Day-Lewis on the screen. This time he stars in an independent film directed by Rebecca Miller who is also an accomplished actor. The film also stars Paul Dano who would later work with Day-Lewis in There Will Be Blood. Camilla Belle and Catherine Keener add their talents to the film as well. When the movie was released in 2005 it divided the critics. The Los Angeles Times called it a “model of artistic, provocative American film-making” while other critics panned the film as a failure.
The film revolves around the story of Jack (Day-Lewis) and his daughter Rose (Belle) who live a secluded life on an island off the East Coast of the United States. Jack has created a world of protection around his daughter as he seeks to protect her from the outside world. As his health fails he seeks to bring others into their home. He succeeds when he asks his girlfriend Katherine (Keener) to move in along with her two sons. As the five struggle to adjust to the new living situation Rose is exposed to the outside world as never before. This forces the sheltered girl to face her feelings about her sexuality, her family, and the world outside of the tiny island. As Jack seeks to make her world safe he’s also forced to face his own mortality. The two of them will ultimately face their challenges together.
This film has good and bad aspects to it. The positive side starts with the acting. Daniel Day-Lewis plays a role that feels very natural and succeeds in every way. The young Camilla Belle takes on her role wonderfully as she portrays a character who matures throughout the film. The chemistry between the two is also great as they manage to make the father-daughter relationship real on the screen.
Another positive of the film is the story. Director Rebecca Miller also wrote the story and it has a unique perspective that makes it interesting. The relationships of all the characters are complicated and intense making for some great moments throughout.
On the other hand the film is directed very poorly. The film seems to lose focus at times and the important moments of the film tend to be lost. This really hurts the pace of the film as well.
As a whole this is a decent film with some flaws that make it hard to be too excited about. As a fan of the actors this is worth watching since there are moments of brilliance throughout. I would give this film 2.3 out of 5 stars when taken as a body of work. If you’re a fan of emotional dramas or coming of age stories this might be worth checking out.