Rosemary’s Baby came out 53 years ago and I’ve probably seen it twice, even though I owned a VHS copy I bought for $2 back in the late 1990s at a Blockbuster. I just didn’t think it was that great of a horror movie.
Maybe I had seen many other horror movies made within the 30 years since it’s released for maybe that audiences in the late 1960s had different tastes.
Despite this, I understood what was being relayed with the story as a waif woman like Mia Farrow is almost treated like a child herself. It was the dawn of Women’s Lib and the ERA but still the time when women couldn’t get credit cards in their own names or sign for leases without a husband’s or father’s signature.
The fact that Rosemary is so easily raped by the Devil to further her husband’s career as an actor was a metaphor for how women are viewed so little in society. Rosemary’s paranoia was easily shrugged off and she was treated so rotten even by the physicians who were supposed to care for her best interest.
Charles Grodin, who died earlier this year, appeared briefly as Rosemary’s physician who turns on her. He said he got so much hate for the public he had to do the talk-show circuit to prove it was just a role and he could be a nice guy.
Well, Pierce Brosnan can be a nice guy and when he was selected to play James Bond in the mid-1990s, it seemed like a no-brainer. Brosnan is handsome, charismatic and can be funny. Look at his role in Mrs. Doubtfire where he would normally play the evil stepfather trying to move in on a vulnerable divorcee, but he brought likeability to the role and we knew that while the Robin Williams’ character spends more time with his kids, his character was going to have a nice weekend getaway with the Sally Fields’ character and we were A-Okay with it.
That is why his role as the mad scientist-type in this movie is such a welcome change. He just comes off as creepy as a fertility doctor who helps a yuppie couple (Ilana Glazer and Justin Theroux) conceive a child through in-vitro fertilization. But this isn’t just a movie about a fertility doctor (SPOILER ALERT!!!) who is using his own sperm to impregnate women because he believes his own sperm is the best.
No, it’s another movie about paranoia as the Glazer’s character seems to suspect things atre not right with her pregnancy.
The mad doctor would have made a better story. And Gretchen Mol as his nurse assistant who dresses in an old-fashioned nurse uniform with her hands restfully behind her back and a Stepford Wives-like smile steals the movie, despite a line of dialogue about a gag reflex in the climax that is awful.
Mol around the time I bought that VHS copy was being hailed as the next Julia Roberts/Sandra Bullock by Harvey Weinstein, of all people, but never took off. It’s a shame because her role here is a nice surprise as she comes off as a prodigy of the MIldred Ratched School of Nursing.
Like I said, outside the fertility hospital, is a story as Glazer’s Lucy is a copywriter who begins to have paranoia after learning she is pregnant with two boys and a girl, but it’s not going to be a healthy birth. Through selective reduction, they decided to have a girl. (You don’t need to worry about spoilers to know what happens when she goes into labor.)
Eventually she becomes cautious of Brosnan’s doctor and decides to go to a midwife. It’s at this point where the movie runs out of a plot and just decides to have Lucy to have hallucinations and paranoia including one scene in which she sees her hubby and the doctor engaging in a sexual act. There’s even something about the midwife that never really materializes into what the filmmakers wanted it to.
I’ll be honest. I never did care for Lucy. And Theroux’s character goes from being the supportive husband to the constant nagging defensive husband that they all do in these movies. Theroux is a great actor and writer. I think this was just a paycheck or a chance to work with Brosnan.
Not to give much more away, but the whole subplot of the fertility doctor using his own semen goes nowhere. It’s just thrown away at the end. I guess the filmmakers thought they were making an homage to the works of Ira Levin, who wrote the novels Rosemary Baby, The Stepford Wives and The Boys From Brazil, which elements are all incorporated into this movie.
But this is Glazer’s baby as she co-wrote and co-produced it. And that’s the irony. This is a vanity project about a vanity mad scientist but the cameras are focused on the wrong characters.