War of the Roses
Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito
Directed by Danny DeVito
Originally released 1989
Fox Home Video
116 minutes

The War Of The Roses tagline is “Once in a lifetime comes a picture that makes you feel like falling in love again. This is not that movie.” This is definitely true. This dark, very dark dramatic comedy is about a couple once deeply in love who goes to war when divorce times come. Barbara and Oliver Rose, Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas, definitely go overboard when they decide to split up. The result is both absolutely hilarious and extremely sad.

Director Danny DeVito plays a lawyer and colleague of Oliver Rose. He tells the story of the Roses to a potential client as a cautionary tale that allows the story to be told in a series of flashbacks. DeVito is great in this as a friend of the family, Oliver’s friend and lawyer, and as a director. There are quite a few deft cinematic touches here that show DeVito’s great talent as a director, something that is also clearly evident in other great movies like Hoffa, Duplex, and the love it or hate it Death To Smoochy.

The first half of The War Of The Roses plays pretty much like your conventional chick flick love story. Cute girl Kathleen Turner (who gets caught in the rain wearing nothing under her blouse) meets cute guy Oliver Rose and they fall madly in love. Barbara makes a wonderful wife, life, and home for Oliver but soon their little idiosyncrasies start irritating each other.

The second half of The War Of The Roses is dark comedy at its finest. Both Roses dig in when it comes to deciding who gets to keep what, especially the house. This is when the war definitely goes nuclear. When you think it can’t get worse, as DeVito’s character says, “You’re going to need a drink for this next part.”

The scenes where Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas slowly start destroying each other’s lives and properties are extraordinarily funny in the darkest sense of the term psychotic. The War Of The Roses is both a cautionary tale and a great comedy drama.

There is a major continuity error at the end of the movie. When Gavin arrives at the Rose residence it is night, when he comes back with the ladder or opens the front door it is clearly daylight.


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