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Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Rose (1979)

This movie, which I somehow missed when it came out, is loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin, and the account is not kind to her memory.  Bette Midler does an admirable job of portraying the singer, and her concert performances are excellent, even if the music is not quite as reminiscent of Janis' best work as would have been ideal.  Her portrayal of a woman who is at the bottom of her life, drinking heavily, acting impulsively and selfishly, and with a complete lack of confidence is convincing, and it is painful to watch her go from bad to worse over the course of the movie.  My real question is how kind is this?  If she were a man would this have been more romanticized rather than demonized?  Rock and roll is and always has been a life in the realm of men, and women have not been treated at all kindly.  This movie is no exception.  The closer I think about it the less I like it, but it is well worth watching to get a sense of just how much the music business is one where women are held to another standard than men and often just not allowed in.

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