Let’s talk about The War of the Roses, an 80s movie that shows just how far two people will go when what starts out as the perfect marriage ends up in the ugliest of divorces.
This is a film that reunites Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner, who star as Oliver Rose and Barbara Rose respectively, with Danny DeVito, who also directed. The three had previously worked together in Romancing the Stone and its sequel—which are completely different films than what we’re talking about today. The War of the Roses traces the arc of Oliver and Barbara’s life together, from its sweet beginnings to its bitter, bitter end. As their love dissipates, we watch them gradually begin to despise each other and they eventually turn their family home into a final battleground.
The film flirts with comedic rage and cartoon-like violence, but at times the disgust between the two lead characters is palpable. It’s clear that the movie has something serious to say about the consequences of vengeance and vendettas. And as we watch Oliver and Barbara engage in toxic rivalry and domestic warfare, the film shows us what divorce looks like when the opposite of love turns out not to be indifference, but instead, transforms into uncontrollable hate.