the thing, by the end of the film; she gets all of that only her life is not as perfect as she thought it would be…
Rosemary’s husband becomes successful but it is revealed that he is an abuser and a betrayer, they have a beautiful apartment but it is full of evil occultists, who pretend to be her friends, and she has a baby, but he is Adrian, the antichrist. Oh yeah, Satan raped her (hence the antichrist) so that is a huge bummer. I understand the plot is so incredible and far-fetched that for some it is almost laughable. So why is Rosemary’s Baby one of the scariest movies I have ever seen and to me in no way funny at all?
I want to be a mother but I am also scared out of my mind at the idea. Hearing stories of my friends’ and family members’ tough pregnancies and then of course watching this film gives me a heightened sense of anxiety at the idea of becoming pregnant. What if I thought something was wrong? Worse, what if my fears were true and something really was wrong? Worse than that even, what if I was too late to fix it. The very idea, even if it is irrational, is tremendously frightening mostly because I would have no way to control it. This fear of losing control does not have to relate to just pregnancy. Women have been fighting for the right to control what happens to their bodies for centuries whether it’s about birth control or abortion. In Rosemary’s Baby, it is interesting to note that most of the evil occultists are very old and very white, with the exception of the (extremely stereotypical) Asian man, mirroring the ever-present troubles we have with the patriarchy and its supporters.
The movie was released in 1968 but it takes place in 1965 and 1966 and it highlights a few major events happening throughout that time: Pope Paul the VI’s visit to New York in 1965 and the controversial Time Magazine cover and article Is God Dead? which was
published in April of 1966. It’s never mentioned directly, but the women’s movement was in full swing during the 1960s as well. However, Rosemary appears to not be actively involved in the women’s movement and actually loves the idea of being a wife and mother and not having any career outside of that. I want to be clear and say THAT IS FINE. What is so great about feminism between women is accepting the fact that some women might actually want to stay at home and raise children if they are able. With that said, just because Rosemary wants to be a stay-at-home-mother and wife does not mean her husband and her neighbors are not treating her with disrespect because they are.
Rosemary seemingly starts the movie off doing everything right for the patriarchy (aka the cult). She is a beautiful, healthy, career-less wife who appears childlike and wears cute dresses. She consistently puts others first before herself. Suddenly, she changes and she cuts her hair short, reads books her husband and male doctor dislike, refuses to let people enter her apartment willy-nilly, sees a doctor she likes rather than the doctor her husband and neighbors like, and hosts a party with her friends who are young, hip, and supposedly forward thinking. How dare her!
Sadly, Rosemary’s outlet to knowledge and new experiences are taken from her throughout this story as she tries to rebel, especially when her husband takes away her book “All of Them Witches,” the book that would reveal everything about the hidden cult.
At the end of the film, it is finally revealed that Rosemary has given birth to a boy who
unfortunately has his father’s yellow eyes (Satan!!!). She attempts to leave but is guided back to her baby by being told that she is his mother and should take care of him. Although Rosemary seemingly gets what she desires, it is done in a controlled environment, leaving her no room to make a guiltless choice on whether to accept it or not. In the end, she has lost control over her body, her home, and her future. That is what is so frightening about Rosemary’s Baby.
- Gracie Jarvis