Our Ten’s List: Valentine’s Day Roses.

Our Ten's List: Valentine's Day Roses.

Forget to get a present? Check out these ten movies with rose in the title!

It’s Valentine’s Day. What better time to look at some of the best romances in the history of cinema…

Twue wuv…

Yeah. Nope. Not going down that road.

Yeah. No. Skip right past all the kissing stuff.

Instead, we’ll gather up a bouquet of films with Rose in the title. From medieval murder mysteries, to horror flicks, to artsy Hong Kong cinema, we look for ten floral flicks to hand your sweetie on Valentine’s.

10. The Sword and the Rose (1953).

Remember way back when we highlighted unsung Disney movies? Here’s one we purposely didn’t sing about. It’s not exactly the kind of drama that Disney became famous for, being about the dramatic and troubled romantic life of Mary Tudor, sister to King Henry VIII.

You wouldn’t expect Disney to do much with that…and they didn’t. The film was a moderate flop, though it did find new life on TV. It followed a series of costume/period films from Disney, and pales next to contemporaries like Treasure Island and Robin Hood and his Merrie Men.

…I didn’t say all of these roses would be the freshest!

Disney certainly was hoping you’d confuse it for a swash-buckling action film.

9. The Yellow Rose of Texas (1944).

Starring Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, you’d expect this to be another singing cowboy movie. While it does feature some nice musical numbers, it’s actually a refreshing break for the pair, who play an insurance investigator and the daughter of a wrongly accused man.

It does feature Roy’s trusty partner, Trigger the horse. Of course, of course.

The love of Roy’s life.

8. The Rose (1979).

This musical, loosely based on Janis Joplin, tells the story of a 1960’s rock star (Bette Midler) and her destructive relationship to her music and the music industry.

Midler brings a ton of energy to the stage, and the whole production lives and dies on its big musical numbers. I guess we’re getting as many songs and flowers in this list.

7. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005).

A parish priest (Tom Wilkinson) must defend himself from murder charges when a young woman under his care dies. She believed herself to be possessed; the lawyer prosecuting the case (Laura Linney) believes she was brainwashed by religious fanaticism. The priest tries to convince the jury that the devil is real, and really possessed Emily (Jennifer Carpenter).

This able horror movie may not rise to the level of The Exorcist, but wisely decides to take a new tact from thy myriad clones of that movie. The legal setting works well, and gives Linney and Wilkinson ample room to spar. The film maintains some ambiguity early, blurring the line between demon possession and mental illness.

For the story’s strengths, you get a sense that a slightly stronger cast could have really slam-dunked this movie into the top three movies about possession. Wilkinson is strong, but brings to mind unfavorable comparisons to Max Von Sydow. Linney is a bit one-note, and Carpenter never quite gets enough development – though she does do “completely terrified, and maybe crazy” very well.

6. The Slipper and the Rose (1976).

A musical retelling of the story of Cinderella.

Richard Chamberlain and Annette Crosbie helm this fairy tale adaptation. Firmly G-rated, it doesn’t embroider the story much, but brings out the charms of its leads with deft musical numbers and lovely costumes.

Our Ten's List: Valentine's Day Roses.

5. Red Rose, White Rose (1994).

Our Ten's List: Valentine's Day Roses.

Stanley Kwan’s adaptation of Eileen Chang’s romantic drama focusses on a married man, Zhenbao, who grows listless around his dutiful and proper wife (the white rose) and is instead drawn to the dissolute wife of his best friend (his red rose.)

Hearkening back to the bittersweet romances of golden age Hollywood, Kwan brings this somber and meditative story to life with excellent cinematography.

4. The Ballad of Jack and Rose (2005).

A father and daughter live in isolation on an island that was once an environmentalist commune. A land developer, the father’s health and new romantic situation, and the daughter’s budding womanhood threaten to drive a wedge between them.

Daniel Day Lewis leads a talented and eclectic cast – Catherine Keener, Paul Dano, Jena Malone, Jason Lee and Beau Bridges. Camilla Belle, who plays Rose, has the formidable task of working opposite Lewis’ intensity, but the tender family drama succeeds.

Rebecca Miller, Lewis’ wife, wrote and directed the film. DDL moved out of their home and avoided her before filming in order to get his own read on the character. Now that’s, um, romance?

3. La Vie en Rose (2007).

A musical biopic about French singer Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard).

This French-star-packed production took awards across Europe and even managed to snag an Oscar from the internationally averse Academy Awards. Of course Hollywood gave a musical an award for best make up. Fucking Hollywood.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with the make up…

2. The Name of the Rose (1986).

A murder draws a shrewd monk (Connery) and his apprentice (Slater) to a secluded abbey. He must solve the mystery before his superiors chalk it up to demonic forces and send the inquisitor to burn the devil out.

I’m sorry, are these monks or Jedi Knights?

This Sean Connery medieval murder mystery can get trashy, but has a surprisingly gripping whodunnit at the core. It also features a novitiate Christian Slater and a villainous F. Murry Abraham going full Inquisition mode.

1. The War of the Roses (1989).

Two nasty and self-centered people fighting a contentious divorce resort to all manner of skullduggery to make each other relinquish their claims to the mansion they used to share.

Our Ten's List: Valentine's Day Roses.
Just leave all of the scumbag lawyering to me…

The War of the Roses is like Marriage Story…if Gordon Gecko and Cruella De Vil were the leads, the little boy was a palatial mansion, and Alan Alda’s sweet-mannered divorce lawyer were played by Danny DeVito. So…nothing like Marriage Story. But it is a ton of fun to see Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, who played adventurous lovers in Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile, turn their fangs on each other instead of making kissy face.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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