Rambling Rose

Directed by Martha Coolidge from a screenplay by Calder Willingham based on his autobiographical novel, RAMBLING ROSE is a humorous coming of age story with a barbed central message. When Rose (Laura Dern) becomes part of the eccentric Hillyer household in 1935, she proves more of a disruptive element than anyone could have anticipated. A tall country girl...read more

Watchlist Added
Where to Watch

Available to Stream

Rating:

Directed by Martha Coolidge from a screenplay by Calder Willingham based on his autobiographical novel, RAMBLING ROSE is a humorous coming of age story with a barbed central message.

When Rose (Laura Dern) becomes part of the eccentric Hillyer household in 1935, she proves more of a disruptive element than anyone could have anticipated. A tall country girl with flowing golden hair, she quickly captivates the Hillyer children, especially 13-year-old Buddy (Lukas Haas). Rose, in

turn, is awed by the genteel, learned Mother (Diane Ladd) and courtly Daddy (Robert Duvall). Rose's failing is that she ... rambles. Beautiful, naive, and sexually uninhibited, she has an overriding need for emotional--and physical--affection. As the narrator (an adult Buddy, played by John Heard)

observes, the result is "one damnable commotion."

Coolidge does a supremely assured job of bringing the period to life, handling her story with a charm that does not blunt the edge of its message. Dern is impeccable as a heroine whose unbridled sexuality is matched by a complete lack of guile, and Robert Duvall is superb as a Southern gentleman

completely nonplussed by the combination. Lukas Haas is winning, and Diane Ladd paints a finely observed portrait of a compassionate, intellectual Southern matron.

RAMBLING ROSE deals with cultural misogyny and sexual oppression in a human, comic way accessible to all. An intelligent screenplay, deft direction, and excellent production values make this a quietly compelling gem.