Home  •  About  •  Contact  •  Twitter  •  Google+  •  Facebook  •  Tumblr  •  Youtube  •  RSS Feed
The War Of The Roses

The War Of The Roses

By Patrick Samuel • April 26th, 2014
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
20th Century Fox

Original release: December 8th, 1989
Running time: 116 minutes

Director: Danny DeVito
Writers: Michael J. Leeson, Warren Adler

Cast: Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito

The War Of The Roses

Have you ever seen a marriage fall apart? From having seen one myself, I can tell you it’s not something that just happens one day out of the blue, like falling in love. The undoing can be a slow and torturous experience for all involved; the unlucky couple it’s happening to, their families, their friends, colleagues, acquaintances, lawyers… basically anyone who comes into contact with them. Maybe it starts with how long it takes for her to get dressed when they’re going out for dinner or to the movies, and he quietly resents that more and more as the years go by. Or maybe it’s how he scolds the children for the simplest, littlest things and she grows to hate his controlling ways and longs to escape. While most couples learn to put up with each other’s differences there are some couples whose marriages seems to have been a union forged in the fires of Hell itself. Believe me, I’ve seen it and it took over a decade for them to finally call it quits.

However, my own experiences of having grown up in a home like that pale beyond comparison with that of the Roses. Based on 1981 novel The War Of The Roses by Warren Adler and directed by Danny DeVito, this was the third, and so far final film, to co-star Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner and DeVito, following on from Romancing The Stone and its sequel, The Jewel Of The Nile. While the actors don’t reprise their roles, they play Oliver Rose (Douglas) and Barbara Rose (Turner), a married couple whose story is recounted by Gavin D’Amato (DeVito), a lawyer whose client wants desperately to divorce his wife.

Gavin starts his story back when Oliver was a Harvard Law School student and he met Barbara at an auction while they were bidding on the same Staffordshire antique ornament. Their competitive streak develops into a mutual attraction and the pair end up falling in love. This leads to marriage and children while Oliver goes on to become a rich and successful lawyer. Realising they need a bigger house, Barbara finds an old mansion and restoring it to grandeur becomes her obsession, especially as Oliver barely spends any time at home anymore.

The War Of The Roses

Gradually she starts the resent little things about the man she once fell in love with and it festers within their marriage, meanwhile Oliver can’t understand why she hates him so much, despite his arrogant and dismissive attitude toward her. After he he’s admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack following one of their heated arguments, Barbara notices the sense of relief she felt at the thought he might be dead and uses the opportunity to ask for a divorce. From there on in the fun really starts with The War Of The Roses as soon to be ex-husband and ex-wife battle it out for the house they’ve both worked so hard for.

They both decide if they can’t have it neither of them will, and in the process cars, lawns, stoves, plates, ornaments and even family pets get destroyed as neither of them are willing to back down. It’s a fiercely funny film with many dark moments that give it its “black comedy” labelling as the couple’s violent turns take on an almost slapstick spin as they try to outdo each other with every trick in the book. The War Of The RosesThankfully most of their fighting takes place while the kids are away college, so they’re not there to see dad boarding up the house so mom can’t escape or mom loosening the bolts on the massive chandelier in the hallway in yet another attempt to kill dad. It verges on the cartoonish and reminds of those Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner moments but throughout the film Douglas and Turner are absolutely compelling to watch, especially when you know deep down Oliver and Barbara still have feelings for each other.

Rather than wrap things up with a nice clichéd happy ending though, The War Of The Roses does something quite unexpected at the end and its climax leaves its audience a bit stunned and a little sad at how far this warring couple let things go. But maybe that’s just the point, after all, having grown up in a house where I watched a marriage slowly and painfully deteriorate it became abundantly clear to me that some people should never even share the same room together, far more a marriage for all those years. Everyone who came into contact with them experienced the same toxic atmosphere as that of the Roses who were ruled more by their egos than their hearts.

Oddly, it’s still a film I enjoy watching, even though it does remind me of those times. This has a lot to do with the writing and the performances by Douglas and Turner, as well as the superb direction by DeVito, giving us a film that visually and thematically becomes darker and more claustrophobic as it progresses. Wrapping things up nicely with a story that closed the book on the Douglas/Turner adventures, The War Of The Roses, in its final moments, serves as a warning and reminder to us all; despite the saying, not all is fair in love and war.

The War Of The Roses

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

© 2022 STATIC MASS EMPORIUM . All Rights Reserved. Powered by METATEMPUS | creative.timeless.personal.   |   DISCLAIMER, TERMS & CONDITIONS