Archive Review: Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Pregnancy and eventually the bond between mother and child is a powerful thing. Hormones, attachment, sometimes postpartum depression — even the mystery of what’s growing inside — Roman Polanski channels all these things into storytelling elements of suspense and paranoia in his superbly written “Rosemary’s Baby.”

Played by a 22-year-old Mia Farrow, Rosemary is the young wife of a struggling actor (John Cassavetes) who moves into a new apartment house in New York next to some strange old nosy neighbors, Minnie (Ruth Gordon) and Roman (Sidney Blackmer). Under strange circumstances she becomes pregnant and starts to believe there might be some conspiracy surrounding her baby.

“Rosemary’s Baby” is not really a horror movie. There are no frightful images, only the illusion that you might see one, which is Polanski’s best trick. Its chock-full of suspense and creates the helpless feeling of not knowing what to believe half the time. The French-born and currently exiled director delivers his first big hit with this plodding script that is never too challenging but takes hold of its audience.

Farrow as Rosemary is this wonderfully cheery and naive spirit who we see crumble before our eyes as her intuition and gullibility are at odds with each other. She does the first half- Rosemary quite well but shows some room for improvement in the more dramatic half of the film. Ruth Gordon is an effectively irritating scene-stealer, helping build Polanski’s slow dramatic momentum by arousing our suspicions early.

It’s not altogether poignant other than underscoring this precious bond between mother and unborn baby, but the execution of suspense is second to very few other films of its kind.


You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment