The War of the Roses (film)

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The War of the Roses is a 1989 American motion picture based upon the 1981 novel The War of the Roses by Warren Adler. It is a black comedy about a wealthy couple with a seemingly perfect marriage. When their marriage begins to fall apart, material possessions become the center of an outrageous and bitter divorce battle. This is the third film to co-star Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito, after Romancing the Stone and its sequel, The Jewel of the Nile. This film also had producer James L. Brooks and actor Dan Castellaneta working on a project outside of The Simpsons.

In both the novel and the movie, the married couple's family name is Rose. The title also alludes to the battles between the Houses of York and Lancaster at the end of the Middle Ages (see Wars of the Roses).

Contents

Plot

Lawyer Gavin d'Amato (Danny DeVito) is in his office discussing a divorce case with a client (Dan Castellaneta). Noticing the man's determination to divorce his wife, Gavin decides to tell him the story of one of his clients, a personal friend of his.

Oliver Rose (Michael Douglas), a student at Harvard Law School, meets Barbara (Kathleen Turner) at an auction, where they bid on the same antique. Oliver chats Barbara up and they become friends. When Barbara misses her ferry home, the two end up spending the night together. Eventually the two marry and have two children. Over the years, the Roses grow richer, and Barbara finds an old mansion whose owner has recently died, and purchases it. However, cracks seem to be forming in the family, such as the children being overweight from Barbara thinking that spoiling them with treats is a positive thing (the children do not get in shape until their teen years). As Oliver becomes a successful partner in his law firm, Barbara, who was a doting and loving wife early in the marriage, appears to grow restless in her life with Oliver, and begins to dislike him immensely. Oliver, for his part, cannot think what he has done to earn Barbara's contempt, despite himself frequently belittling her and being controlling, self-centred, and generally dismissive of her needs. When Oliver believes he is suffering from myocardial infarction, (actually a hiatal hernia) the day after Barbara (who used to be a gymnast) squeezes him between her legs due to an argument, Barbara does not show any concern for his well-being or remorse, and ultimately admits that she no longer loves him and wants a divorce. Oliver accepts, but tension arises between the two when it becomes clear that Barbara wants the house and everything in it despite Oliver being entitled to at least half of everything, and Oliver becomes more determined than ever to keep the house when Barbara uses Oliver's final love note to her (which he had written when he believed he was going to die) as evidence to reinforce the fact that the house is all hers. Barbara initially throws Oliver out of the house, but he moves back in when he discovers a loophole that allows him to stay in the house for the time being. Barbara immediately begins plotting to remove Oliver from the picture.

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