Jack lives on the site of his abandoned island commune with his 16-year-old daughter Rose. Jack has sheltered Rose from the influences of the outside world, but now Rose's emerging womanhood poses troubling questions about the days ahead. A man who has lived a life motivated by environmentalism and other altruistic causes, Jack now rages at those who do not share his concerns, like developer Marty Rance, who is building a housing tract on the edge of his property. When Jack invites his girlfriend Kathleen and her sons Rodney and Thaddius to live with them, Rose feels betrayed and the situation quickly becomes precarious. Rose acts out wildly, creating chaos. As everything flies out of control, Jack finds himself trapped in an impossible place and is forced to take action. Written by
Although this movie takes place in the United States, when jack and rose go to the main land a Canadian Tire store is visible from their car. See more »
I wouldn't be able to do that.
If you don't like your situation, then change it. If you can't change it, then leave it. It's your fucking life, man.
I appreciate it.
See more »
Thanks to the people of Souris, Eastern Kings and Charlottetown, P.E.I.. See more »
This film disappeared locally right after its theatrical debut, so when IFC showed it recently, we rushed to catch up with it. Having admired its director, Rebecca Miller in all her films, we were right in seeing it in the wide screen of the main theater because that seems to be the perfect way to watch this intimate picture.
Ms. Miller takes us to an island off the coast of the continental mainland to set her story. As the film opens we watch Jack Flavin with his teen age daughter as they are perched on the roof of their strange cabin with the roof being made of lawn grass. They are father and daughter who have stayed in the land where years ago, had been a commune. We don't know what happened to Rose's mother, and nothing is clarified. We gather Jack and Rose have a special bond that at times border in incest.
Jack believes in keeping the island the way it is; development is coming fast and furious in the way of luxury homes being built in what probably will be a gated community where people of the same background and financial means will live, in sharp contrast as the commune idea that attracted Jack to the place. Jack, having inherited money from his father is financially secure, but still lives in a primitive way in a basic type of life. We see Jack as he takes pills; we realize he is not a well man.
When Jack takes a side trip to the mainland, he visits Kathleen, a single mother with two teen aged sons. Jack convinces her to come to live with him at the island. What Jack doesn't count is on Rose's reaction to the invasion to her space. In fact, the hatred for the invaders is instant. Katheleen, a kind woman herself, tries to reach Rose without any success. Rodney, one of the sons, has a weight problem, and has studied to be a hairdresser. Thaddius, is the rebel, who has an eye on the beautiful Rose.
Jack's basic intention for bringing Kathleen is to help him during his last days because he senses his days are numbered. When Thaddius suffers an accident, Kathleen takes the opportunity to go back home, leaving Jack and Rose to fend for themselves.
Ms. Miller takes an elegiac look at the situation making Jack into an almost Shakespearean character, that is, bigger than life. Jack is lovingly photographed in his many moods. The beautiful Rose's face shows all the emotions going on inside her. The director ought to be congratulated for involving us in the film and making us care for what will happen to Jack and Rose.
Daniel Day-Lewis is an actor who doesn't work much these days and that is our loss! As Jack, Mr. Day-Lewis has the rare opportunity to show his vulnerability and seems to be naked in front of our eyes because he doesn't hide the emotions from us. We know at any given moment what this man is thinking and what makes him tick. Mr. Day-Lewis gives a fabulous performance as he dominates the picture completely.
Camilla Belle is Rose. This young actress proves he is up to the task the director demands of her character. Not only is she beautiful, but she clearly exudes an innate intelligence that pays off in her portrayal of the girl who sees her world fall apart and has no way to stop what is killing her father.
Catherine Keener makes a valuable contribution to the film as Kathleen. She clearly is a gentle soul who is in love with Jack and wants to stay with him until the end. That is not meant to be because Jack realizes that in "importing" her to the island she gets in the way of the perfect balance between father and daughter.
Ryan McDonald makes the confused Rodney come alive. This young actor is a natural. The rest of the cast include minor appearances by Beau Bridges, Jason Lee, Jena Malone and Paul Dano, who plays Thaddius the other son.
"The Ballad of Jack and Rose" is clearly not for a wide audience because it's too intelligent to get a broader distribution, but the fans of Rebecca Miller will always cherish this film for what she brought to it and for the magnificent performances she got from her cast. The film is beautifully photographed Ellen Kuras and has an interesting score by Michael Rohatyn.
47 of 61 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?