NORMAN LOVES ROSE (1982)

Written & Directed By: Henri Safran 
Cinematography: Vincent Monton
Editor: Don Saunders 

Cast: Carol Kane, Tony Owen, Barry Otto, David Downer, Warren Mitchell, Sandy Gore, Virginia Hey, Myra De Groot, Louise Pajo

A teenage boy falls hopelessly in love with his new sister-in-law. When she gets pregnant, someone raises the question that he might be the father–a notion he does nothing to discourage.


This is one of those films I remember the poster and box art from video stores that I frequented as a youth. Not blockbusters, more the mom-and-pop independent ones.

Never got to see it as a kid when most interested and remembered but finally recently got to see it. I believe I would have had more patience for it when I was younger. As it basically plays like a young teen fantasy come to life of romancing an older woman who you have a crush on. Only here not only does the dream come true but so do the consequences of that action and they are not all that one would expect.

The main drawing power for this film is that Carol Kane is the star of the film. Which is rare In itself and the production takes place in Australia. Wished she had gotten more lead roles instead of this misfire. As she is a constantly appealing screen presence only misused and wasted in this film. 

The film is supposed to be a comedy yet it’s never really funny and just not that good. Yet very 1980’s with a catchy main theme song. Not only is it in bad taste especially by today’s standards. It’s also very problematic.

A woman having an affair with her husband’s 12-year-old little brother is supposed to be romantic. You can understand the little brother’s actions but you question the woman is she a pedophile? starving for attention that she doesn’t get from her husband? sex crazed due to lack of sexual attention? or just in need to get pregnant. The film never answers that question and leaves the audience to answer a question they really don’t want to.

The film tries to be an ensemble film about a Jewish family but feels like it tries to invent drama where there isn’t in trying to frame it’s main plot. Worse of all it comes off dull.

Can see what the interest might have been at the time, a kind of taboo comedy that luckily doesn’t show but hints at a lot. Though it also makes you wonder who was the audience for this film overall.

As it’s not a teen movie, nor a sex comedy of T and A proportions. Nor is it exploitive, it at least tries to make the relationship look romantic. 

The brother even suspects the wrong person of having an affair due to the infidelity of his business partner. This leads to confusion for his character and ends up being the most abused throughout for very little reason. 

His father actually comes off as the most dramatic and sympathetic. In fact, throughout the film, the only character who seems to have a good head on their shoulders is the brother’s mistress.

The ending shows you the depth of young love and how quickly one can bounce their feelings to a new partner. As he seems to be a serial seducer with his innocence but now worldly ways. While it leaves her husband’s character in a kind of limbo

GRADE: F

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