Film Review of Danny DeVito's "The War Of the Roses"

Essay by tmurgioUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, May 2004

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Released in 1989, The War of the Roses, was actor/director Danny DeVito's second feature film and is the timeless story of how two people fell out of love and go through a beyond messy divorce. The film was adapted from Warren Adler novel of the same title and adapted for the screen by Michael Leeson. The comedy of this film is extremely dark, almost to the point that it may not be a comedy at all, but rather a tragedy. The film focuses on the materialistic side of the Rose's marriage rather then the human emotional side of their marriage. The fight escalates to the point where they are not winning for themselves but rather winning because the other person losses. It is also easy to see that DeVito integrated a strong anti-materialism message into the film making it still to this day a very effective social message.

Materialism plays the center role in The War of the Roses, the film is more about how the character relate to their possession rather then to each other. Even from the very beginning of Barbara and Oliver Roses' marriage possessions have played the major role. Material objects and fighting go hand in hand even from the very start of the Roses' twisted relationship. The two meet in fact by getting into a bidding war over a Japanese figurine at an auction on Nantucket. This sets the tone for their entire relationship, a relationship based on material possessions and neglect. Materialism becomes their common bond and the only time they can show happiness. "With the exception of this first encounter, the only time in the entire movie in which they appear to be happy with one another is when, early in their marriage, Barbara buys Oliver a classic Morgan. Their...