"The Ballad of Jack & Rose" Hits All the Right Notes


Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the greatest actors of his generation.  His talent, craft, and commitment to his roles are second to none. Nominated for Best Actor five times by The Academy Awards taking home 3 golden trophies.  For "My Left Foot (1990)", "There Will be Blood (2008)" and "Lincoln (2008)".  One of his lesser-known roles was in the small independent film "The Ballad of Jack & Rose (2005) Directed by his wife Rebecca Miller.  It's a story about the relationship between a father and daughter living off the grid on an island off the east coast.

Camilla Belle plays Rose the tomboyish teenage daughter who has spent her entire life on the island, sheltered from the rest of the world.  Her mom had left the family when she was only five years old and has grown up alone with her father all these years.  Jack is the last remaining holdout of an old hippie commune on which they live, unable to let go of the past and his strong ideals of how a society should behave.  It's1986 and land developers are starting to infiltrate his sacred island, his battle is mainly with Marty Rance (Beau Bridges).  For Jack this means War, but his declining health and lack of support make it an impossible task.  Nobody can stop progress.  The future will come whether you like it or not.

With Rose getting older, about sixteen or so, Jack is forced to think about the future and what will
happen when he dies.  He starts to feel guilty for keeping Rose away from modern society and what will happen to her when she's on her own.  Jack does go to the mainland now and then to shack up with Kathleen (Catherine Keener), a single mother of two teen boys, who is currently living in her mother's basement.  They've known each other a while but their relationship has never too serious.  To hopefully benefit Rose, Jack pays Kathleen to quit her job and move her kids to live with him on the island.  Jack's "experiment" is a bumpy road and awakens feeling and emotion that will change all of them.  Rose's emotional state becomes a little erratic, to say the least, as Kathleen has now taken over most of Jack's time, this causes her to lash out and rebel in some extreme ways.  Not to mention the introduction of two teenage boys.  Rodney, is a self-conscious and sensitive guy who is questioning his sexuality, while Thaddeus is a skinny womanizing rebel, played by Paul Dano, who also stars opposite Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will be Blood".  Jack is surprised and shocked by what he see's in Rose and has to confront the fact that nothing lasts forever and that he has to let her go and experience the world, even if she might get hurt along the way.  Operating on a budget of 1.5 million, this is a prime example of how a strong story along with strong actors can make a great film.