One of the most powerful forces in the world is the blind, selfless love of a mother for her baby.
I think it’s ridiculous that our legal system doesn’t make an exception for all crimes committed by a mother in defense of her child. Ordering a mother not to protect her baby is as absurd as ordering cats not to sit at the window salivating over birds. These unnatural orders won’t save any birds; they will just fill prison cells with recalcitrant cats.
“Rosemary’s Baby” is a magnificent character-driven drama about a regular woman who becomes a heroic mother.
It is 1965, and Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) and her husband Guy have just moved into a beautiful old Manhattan apartment. Rosemary is ready to settle down and become a dutiful wife and mother.
Rosemary’s domestic bliss is interrupted by a pair of very intrusive old neighbors. They seem nice enough. But when she gets pregnant, they insist on becoming part of Rosemary’s life in a way that makes her uncomfortable.
People expecting a horror movie will be confused and possibly bored by the movie’s slow unscary build-up. But it made sense to me. To make the fantastic events of the final act feel real, writer/director Roman Polanski needed for us to get to know Rosemary. We need to view her as an average, relatable young lady.
Only 10% of Jews in 1939 Poland lived to see 1945. Young Roman Polanski was one of them. His mother was one of the 90%. Polanski has an easy time finding insane evil in everyday life.
But “Rosemary’s Baby” is timelessly great rather than just disturbing. And that’s entirely due to Mia Farrow’s magnificent performance.
Feminism is hard to define. Rosemary Woodhouse is as close to my exact definition of a feminist as I can conceive.
These days, a character who is called feminist is apt to brandish guns and kill people with her martial arts prowess. To me this isn’t feminist at all because very few people do this and the few who do are men.
Mia Farrow’s Rosemary doesn’t possess a single motivation or skill that the average woman does not. She wants to get along with people, have a happy family, and protect her child. Her only superpowers are savvy and self-confidence.
Her feminist awakening – indeed, the entire plot of the movie – is that Rosemary slowly realizes that every man in her life is a selfish snake. It is Rosemary vs. The Patriarchy. And though she doesn’t win precisely, she certainly doesn’t go down without a fight.
During her most horrible moment, Rosemary exhibits poise rather than panic. “This isn’t a dream,” she exclaims confidently but not frantically. “This is really happening.”
For the sake of her unborn child, Rosemary must uncover the plot against her and trust in herself when everyone else is calling her a crazy dingbat. The scene where Rosemary uses Scrabble pieces to unlock the dark mystery of her pregnancy is absolutely chilling.
I love this movie and I love this character.
Intelligence and fortitude are the skills at which a woman can be better than a man. That and the pure unselfish love of her child.
Rosemary Woodhouse is an amazing character.
Mia Farrow is a world class actress.
“Rosemary’s Baby” is a bona-fide classic.