There is a basic fear that we all have, albeit subconsciously, that all children are the spawn of the Devil and are out to get us. Young and in love couple Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and Guy (John Cassavetes) move in to their new apartment and soon a seemingly happy occupant throws herself from the top floor window. To top it off their neighbours are the over familiar type, always popping by at inopportune moments and being general pains in the necks.
Guy seems totally enamoured with their elderly neighbours. Rosemary finds them suffocating. The lively characters, most notably Ruth Gordon, deceive them in to thinking they are innocent, they confuse and spin around them until the couple are where they are required to be. And before they know it they’re wide open, but by the time their sinister and far more competent true selves are revealed it is too late. This is demonstrated in a bizarre scene where Rosemary thinks she is dreaming but is actually the centre of a frightening satanic ritual, surrounded by her naked neighbours standing over her in bed. But never mind that! They make friends and all their dreams become a reality, with Guy’s acting career taking off and Rosemary becoming pregnant. The condition doesn’t suit her though and she starts to lose weight rather than gain it. She has also developed a taste for raw meat. All perfectly natural.
Early on the film is almost silent as they potter about their new apartment. Demonstrating an enormous amount of mundane yet reassuring reality, with Rosemary suggesting they “make love” and her husband immediately turning out the light and spending 10 minutes getting himself undressed. The film’s atmosphere has a seamless switch when later her husband casually confesses to having sex with her while she was passed out in bed. This signifies a huge shift in their relationship and the disintegrating trust between the couple. A partner and a home that once was warm has now turned frosty.
Much like many of Ira Levin’s female characters, Farrow plays her submissive and washed out, with any attempts at independence futile because they lack conviction. The dark foreboding tone that’s only recognised by the viewer and Rosemary early on is not without its humour as the devil worshippers attempt to ingratiate themselves within the family. The soundtrack is an all encompassing drunken theme and gives you the impression that if you were standing you would more than likely topple over with your head spinning. Without having to show too much the demonic forces of the film suffocate us with the constant age old warning; be careful what you wish for.
Leave a Reply