A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rosemary's Baby is a miniseries based on the Ira Levin novel about a young couple whose pregnancy goes very wrong. The level of violence and gore is very high, and includes images of cannibalism, dismembered body parts, murders, pools of blood and gore and dead bodies. Since the plot is connected with pregnancy, there are many scenes of body and medical horror that can induce fears of procreation or doctors. There are also scenes that contain sexual violence, such as one in which a prostitute is murdered during sex and her murderer cuts out her heart and chews on it. Some scenes take place at bars; no one acts drunk. Cursing is mild ("hell," "damn"), but there is other rough language including a scene in which a woman is called a "whore." This production is violent and scary and not for young viewers.
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What's the story?
Based on the novel by Ira Levin, ROSEMARY'S BABY stars Zoe Saldana as Rosemary Woodhouse, a former dancer and the wife of aspiring novelist Guy (Patrick J. Adams). After experiencing a tragic miscarriage, the two move to Paris when Guy gets a teaching job and make contact with some alluring, yet confusing new friends, Margo (Carole Bouquet) and Roman Castavet (Jason Isaacs). The Woodhouses need a place to stay, and the Castavets happen to have an extra apartment in their building. It seems like the perfect place to start their new family. But the Castavets (and soon, Guy, too) have a secret. Looks like that much-hoped-for new baby isn't such a blessing after all.
Is it any good?
Given the classic status of the original Rosemary's Baby, it's inevitable that this take will be compared to it; surprisingly, it doesn't come off as badly as one might expect. Saldana makes a zesty and vulnerable Rosemary, and the film's choice to move Guy and Rosemary to Paris was a wise one: It provides a layer of discomfort and insecurity that's needed in our age of smart phones, when one wonders why Rosemary doesn't just Google "tannis root" or any of the other mystifying signs that appear to tell her all is not quite right with her pregnancy, or her marriage, for that matter.
It was also a good choice to flesh out Guy's story a bit. Polanski's movie never quite made it clear why a loving husband would suddenly rent his wife's womb to Satan. By illustrating more clearly some of the rewards Guy's looking to get (as well as sketching out what malice he'll face should he cross the Castavets), this part of the story holds together better. No, this won't be a classic on the level of Polanski's, it's just not artful and tight enough for that. But it has enough of its own appeal to make it worth a watch, especially for horror fans.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about that other take on Rosemary's Baby. Describe its effect on pop culture and cinema. Why would such a popular movie get a modern remake? Why now? Why remake it at all?
In a departure from Ira Levin's original novel, and Roman Polanski's version of the story, this movie sets the action in Paris. Why? Is Rosemary more helpless in a country not her own? Why was it important to make her more disconnected from her surroundings? Does it make the story better? More realistic?
Movies and TV make pregnancy and childbirth seem scary. Is it? Ask your mother what her experience was like. Did she share things in common with Rosemary Woodhouse? Do you feel nervous about pregnancy after watching this movie?
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