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Film / The Rose

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A 1979 film directed by Mark Rydell and starring Bette Midler in her first film appearance as a vulnerable, self-destructive rock singer looking for love. The supporting cast includes Alan Bates, Frederic Forrest, and Harry Dean Stanton.


  • Abusive Parents: Rose's parents. One of whom is played by Doris Roberts (Mrs. Foster/Rose's mother).
  • The Alcoholic: Rose is almost always seen drinking from a bottle.
  • Artistic License – Pharmacology: The Rose shoots up heroin in a phone booth, even though she has no water - a necessity for intravenous usage of a powdered narcotic.
  • Award-Bait Song: The title tune, sung by Midler, is actually an aversion; because composer Amanda McBroom hadn't written the song specifically for the movie, it was ineligible for Academy Award consideration. (It did win Midler a Grammy Award, however, and became a massive hit.)
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  • Break-Up/Make-Up Scenario: Several between Rose and Houston throughout the film.
  • Broken Bird: Rose
  • Broken Tears: Rose has these, whether she's giving an emotional performance on stage, arguing with her manager or her boyfriend and other personal struggles.
  • Definite Article Title
  • Destructive Romance: Due to several factors (drugs, promiscuity, fame, ect.), the relationship between Rose and Houston eventually turns violent through the course of the movie.
  • Died Standing Up: Rose actually dies on her feet. It takes a few seconds for her body to collapse.
  • Downer Ending: Rose loses her boyfriend, indulges in a fatal combination of heroin, alcohol and barbiturates and dies onstage during her comeback concert.
  • Driven to Suicide: Heartbroken from her breakup with Houston, Rose decides to indulge in a fatal combination of heroin, alcohol and barbiturates before her concert.
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  • Famous Last Words: "Where you going...? Where's everybody going...?"
  • Foreshadowing: Remember the tear-stricken out-of-breath sounding opening monologue by Rose in the beginning? Oh God. Once you seen the whole movie (up to the film's tragic ending), the film's opening will make a lot of sense and a lot of tears.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: After her concert, Rose and Houston start celebrating. Kissing as they walk together backstage. It's implied that her old friend Sarah hadn't been there, they would've gone further.
    • Later, Houston walks in on Rose and Sarah making out in the bathroom.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Rose's old friend Sarah and Rose herself.
  • Love Triangle: Several examples, but the main one is Rose's choice between Houston and her desire for fame.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown : Rose wants desperately to return to her hometown a success. It doesn't go well for her.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Rose is basically a thinly-veiled version of Janis Joplin.
  • Oscar Bait: As Rose, Bette Midler sings, she gets strung out, and she dies. Midler was nominated for Best Actress but lost to Sally Field (Norma Rae).
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Rose gets down to her knees and screams this crying when Houston has had enough of her abusive lifestyle and leaves her.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: After an argument, Rose goes looking for Houston inside a men's public bathhouse. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Lots of all three. During the first on-screen concert, it's even a "crowd chant".
  • The '60s: The film is set in 1969...
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Houston after being hit one last time by Rose during their last fight together.
  • Slut-Shaming: Inverted when Rose tells Houston the football story, then played straight in the western bar.
  • Skewed Priorities: Despite her manager's attempts to take her to a hospital and get treatmeny for her fatal drug overdose, Rose decides she'd rather give one last concert instead.
  • The Last Straw: After being slapped by Rose one too many times during arguments, Houston decided he's had enough and hitches a ride out of town away from her.
  • The Tragic Rose: Rose herself, of course, to the fullest use of the trope.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Houston to Rose after her behavior in the western bar.
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Rose, whose face is constantly ruined from crying and her tears ruining her mascara.


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