Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Ballad of Jack and Rose

Writer/Director Rebecca Miller tells a strange story about a man named Jack (Daniel Day-Lewis) raising his daughter Rose (Camille Belle) in a 1980's commune. The commune is pretty much dead except for the title characters. Jack is an idealist who tries to keep the island on which his commune resides free of riff raff. The plot starts unwinding when Jack, who has a heart condition, invites his quasi-girlfriend (Catherine Keener) to live with them and baggage. The baggage being her two teen sons. One of which named Thaddius (Lewis's future costar in There Will Be Blood Paul Dano) who has designs on young Rose.

Basically it is a reverse Oedipal tale where the daughter finds it impossible to love any other man than her father. Jack realizes it too late to fix things. The rest of the plot is mostly cliche stuff. The real reason to watch The Ballad of Jack and Rose is for Miller's eye for the camera and her real life husband Lewis's work. This is by no means a great or even original story, but you are engrossed in this family's life and feel sad when it is over. In the end I liked more than I hated.


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