The War of the Roses (1989) Review

When married couple Oliver and Barbara begin to hate the sight of one another they decide that divorce is the only option, the issue though that neither of them want to give up the house so the battle against one another becomes bigger as they do everything possible against the other.


Sometimes we get romantic comedies that don’t go for that happily ever after approach, not very often but The War of the Roses is certainly one of them, probably more of a dark comedy as you have it. As we see the pair meet and fall in love, get married, have two children and find the dream house. After that though as the children Josh and Carolyn get older and are closing in on leaving for college everything escalates between Oliver and Barbara.

Gavin D’Amato is a family friend and work colleague with Oliver’s at the law firm they both work at, so naturally he is telling us this story and how he was Oliver’s lawyer. Detailing just how far the pair went to try and get the other out of the house, the battle of it being Oliver’s money yet Barbara found it and then spent all her time making it into a home is the biggest challenge between them.

I have seen this film many times over the years and it really does not make you want to rush out and get married, not on bit. Not that I ever have or ever will, but still this film then makes you realise that you are not missing out on everything by not getting married. It manages to show the true worst of people can do to each other, I mean come on the cat incident was a total accident not that she would really believe that!

It is a film that is more than worth watching and I cannot deny that my enjoyment of it has actually grown even more, we need to see real possible endings instead of everything being oh so happy all of the time. I mean the extremes we see in the film hopefully aren’t regular occurrences for people everyday and somewhat exaggerated.

Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner really did work ever so well together which is easily why this was the third film that they starred in throughout the 80s being a real power pair. Douglas has so much charm and that is something that is shown throughout the film, but then the wicked side comes out and that is equally as fun to watch. Turner more than matching him and being truly devious is another joy to watch, which probably seems quite strange but we can have fun with this type of film right? We get Danny DeVito doing a voice over which is always a win, as well as being an actual character within the story and to finish it off he directed the film! I also find a very young Sean Astin a little bonus in albeit a small role.

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