For most women, pregnancy is a joyous time. All sweet Rosemary wants is a healthy baby in a happy home. For a while, that seems like a dream coming more true every passing day. However, she starts to become suspicious of her husband, the helpful neighbors and even her doctor. Could they all be behind some sinister plot to use her baby, or is it all in her head?
We first meet Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and her husband Guy (John Cassavetes) as they are looking for an apartment. What they find would be perfect for them and the family they hope to have, but it has a sorted past. Tales of a man who conjured the devil and sisters who ate children resonate with the building. No worry to Guy and Rosemary, it’s just silly rumors, right? They quickly make the apartment their own cozy home and Guy’s acting career begins to take off.
Their neighbors are very friendly. Rosemary first meets Terry (Victoria Vetri), a young woman about her age that stays with an older couple. We think we are seeing the start of a great friendship, until Terry jumps from the building and leaves a gruesome splatter on the sidewalk. This is how Rosemary meets Minnie (Ruth Gordon) and Roman (Sidney Blackmer), whom the woman lived with. Partly out of pity for their loss, Rosemary spends more time than she would like to with Minnie. She is very thoughtful, even bringing over desserts for the young couple. When Minnie and Roman hear news of Rosemary’s pregnancy, they are more helpful than Rosemary feels comfortable with.
Soon, it seems that Rosemary’s pregnancy is in everyone’s hands, except hers. Minnie and Roman insist on her only going to the best doctor, even making the appointment for her. Every day they give her a mysterious drink, to help the baby. The new doctor seems to be no help when it comes to abnormal pains that plague poor Rosemary. The only reasonable friends Rosemary has are her young girlfriends and Hutch (Maurice Evans), but she doesn’t get to talk to them much, as if people were trying to keep them away. I don’t blame Rosemary for cutting off all her hair, it seems to be the only thing she can control.
While Rosemary’s Baby is remembered primarily as a horror film, it also had some Oscar recognition. Based off of Ira Levin’s novel, Roman Polanski was nominated for best adapted screenplay. In fact, he stayed very true to the book, not realizing he could take liberties with. And Ruth Gordon won for best supporting actress. I really loved the way she can be so kind, helpful and doting while maintaining a slight menace under all that makeup.
Most film fans already know the big horrific ending to Rosemary’s Baby. I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but the pieces are easy to put together, especially after that creepy dream. This was the first time I had seen the film, and I was well aware of the ending. However, it did not spoil my enjoyment at all. In fact, I found that last scene much creepier than I expected I would. This film doesn’t rely on that big surprise, the whole film is a wonderful experience in growing paranoia. Roman Polanski can always make things feel wonderfully uncanny and Rosemary’s Baby is his beautiful contribution to horror.
“We’re your friends, Rosemary. There’s nothing to be scared about. Honest and truly there isn’t!”