In this blackest of comedies, a perfect 18-year marriage suddenly becomes unglued and the gleefully evil Barbara (Kathleen Turner) and Oliver (Michael Douglas) Rose single-mindedly inflict as much misery as possible on eac... more »h other. Rather than just get divorced, they declare war, fighting to the bitter end over their huge mansion and every possession in it. Not even the calculating guidance of Oliver's lawyer (Danny DeVito) can stop this uncompromisingly nasty two some as their vicious battle sends them on an increasingly dark and dangerous path.« less
Sharon F. (Shar) from HIALEAH, FL Reviewed on 5/11/2022...
Oldie, but goodie! Really shows what marriage and divorce are all about. If you haven't seen this one, do yourself a favor and put it on your "Must Watch" list.
K. K. (GAMER) Reviewed on 1/22/2022...
Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, Danny DeVito, a Young Rudy (Sean Astin) and others shined in this. Really solid plotline but it went over the top a bit way much about 3/4 into the movie but then pulled you back in. Turner churned out some good movies but this seemed to kill her career for being an A lister going forward.
Must see for everyone
David Khaindrava | Austell, GA | 08/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"How do you hold on to someone who want stay and how do you get reed of someone who want leave?Oliver and Barbara (Douglas and Turner) meet at the auction. With instant chemistry between the two they are soon married. Typical American family - perfect house, 2 children, work-slave husband and bored wife. As time goes by, Barbara realizes that she no longer likes Oliver and asks for a divorce. Unfortunately for her Oliver is still crazy about her, but agrees to give her the divorce. And as we all though this would be just another civilized split, all hell breaks loose. Barbara wants to keep the house that she found and decorated, but Oliver (who paid for it) will not give it up either. And after an advice from his lawyer (DeVito) he moves back into the house. While Barbara is determined to get Oliver to leave and Oliver is trying to rekindle the romance, there civilized coexistence quickly becomes very interesting. Believe it or not I have not given much of the movie away. Yes, you now know what the basic story is, but to watch it is a completely different. Three of the return after two successful movies and deliver performances that's unmatched by anything else in there carriers. This film is one of the darkest comedies you'll ever watch. And I believe that everyone should watch it at least once. It'll make you think twice about a lot of things in life. Absolutely brilliant. An ending that will stay with you for a long time.And when a person making $400.00/hr wants to tell you a story for free, you should listen to it."
This is a war all right
- Kasia S. | New York City | 05/31/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have heard of this movie before but I had no idea what kind of a ride I was about to be taken on and let me tell you this flick is crazy! Here you have a man and a woman who have a good marriage and suddenly it goes kablam! They are like the ham and cheese cafeteria sandwich cut in half and placed with their backs to each other; the angry lovers on opposite sides of the bed...
Watching Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner slowly descended to a discord in their relationship, more her than him, is a never ending guillotine of a ride. The trials and tabulations in the movie are a parody on a bad marriage gone funny with opposite sides playing a Civil War witch each other, as neither one wants to move out of the "gorgeous" house they have made together.
Yes this movie is about a house and two stubborn people who play nasty tricks ala' Home Alone on each other with no mercy, often drawing some major laughs out of anyone who watches it.Also I need to give props to the climactic ending which is quite shocking and makes you think about this black comedy longer then you though possible as this story is quite intricate and has some great and funny outcomes, its not some empty comedy that gives you headache at the end or makes you angry about missing two hours of your life. This film is smart, funny, has the husband and wife ruin each others house parties, cars, jobs, friends and behave as if they are above all laws and just when you think they will patch it up some crazy event interrupts them with a mound of consequences growing like a hungry volcano. And the you watch it erupt! Enjoy."
Love it or hate it, Appreciate it!
Nnie the Hideous New Girl | Brookfield, Connecticut United States | 11/25/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It'd be a little redundant at this point out this film is a black comedy. That'd be like stating that Scream is a horror movie. But what exactly makes War of the Roses so funny yet so bleak? In my opinion it's the same type of entertainment one gets from listening to really nasty juicy gossip. Like when your tech-ed teacher tells you why it's bad to get your hair or fingers too close to the sanding machines.
The film is narrated by DeVito, a lawyer retelling a tale he lived through when dealing with a once happily married couple... an especially materialistic married couple! So the entire movie switches from 'past' to 'present,' focusing mostly on the story of the soon to be unhappy lovers. After their so-called civil divorce, they are both determined to keep the dream house they both contributed to, and Oliver, the once husband, is determined to keep his former wife, Barbara, who can't stand him to the point of making them both miserable! From here, the story just gets crueler and more bizarre...
So if you're the type of person who likes to listen to stories where terrible things happen to ordinary and fallible people, if you watch car races to see a crash, or you laugh during the news, chances are you'll enjoy this movie, and other black comedies for that matter. If you like stories with resolve or warmth, or if you're an animal lover, you best stay clear of this unrelenting comedy classic.
So why four stars? Well, perhaps I just recognize that there are some people who will find this movie hysterical, and some who will just plain not find it funny at all."
Descent into Madness
John A Lee III | San Antonio, TX | 06/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This the darkest of all the dark comedies I have ever seen. There are moments of lightness but they come all too seldom and the story of increasing bitterness and pettiness comes to the fore.
The Roses fell in love in college, married and seemed to have the perfect life. He was an ivy league lawyer and she was the "perfect housewife". They both have their problems. He takes her too much for granted and she is a materialistic snob. Still, they seem to be so much in love that they can overcome their personal foibles. It doesn't work out that way.
After he is rushed to the hospital with an apparent heart attack, she is too busy with her career to even pick him up when he is discharged. Later that night, she tells him that she wants a divorce. From there, the vindictiveness and sniping continue to escalate as both descend into an orgy of mutual contempt and hatred.
There are times when it is possible to feel sorry for both of the characters. More often, both seem to be too contemptible to pity. Each is more concerned with the destruction of the other and "winning" than in any possible healing. There are some differences. He genuinely loves her and she genuinely hates him. This is carried right through to the bitter, and I do mean BITTER, end.
It's hard to call this entertaining. It is frightening, though, to see how far hatred can take a person. Anyone contemplating a divorce should see this film. Anyone contemplating a particularly nasty divorce should see it daily.
Don't let this be YOU! "
Black Comedy at its best
Mathew Sargent | Vermont, USA | 08/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas star in this movie with a chemistry greater than either of their previous films together, namely Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile. Their shared screen time is filled with a frenzied mixture of passion, anger, lust, devotion, and resentment, a relationship that, however abstract and unrealistic it is skewed in this movie, reflects what's left of a lot of relationships once the lust leaves the marriage, or once a couple finally spends some time together (i.e. after the kids have left the nest).It has been a long standing joke that once the kids go to college or leave the nest, many spouses find themselves wondering: "Who the hell did I marry?" Things that were never noticed now are found nagging; a sensitive husband suddenly becomes controlling; a neat homemaker suddenly becomes obsessively compulsive; a mother, now that her duties are cut, becomes anxious to get out of the house. This is exactly what this movie relates, from the Roses' passionate meeting, to their years of "struggle" as Douglas' character builds his career to support his growing family, to their subsequent wealth and success, and finally a lull is reached when they are wealthy and suceessful, yet they have nowhere seemingly left to go.One of the things that a lot of viewers seemingly miss while watching the movie is the greater picture- the Rose's marriage was one built on attraction and lust. While that has been enough to sustain many marriages, this is not the case here. After the lust leaves the marriage the couple begins to notice every irritating thing the other half does, which is what happens in a lot of marriages. The difference here is that their personalities, both being uncompromising, ambitious, and, yes, more than a tad sadistic, cause Turner's and Douglas' characters to take things past the point where any realisic (i.e. amiable) seperation is possible. Perhaps it is just me, but if anything I find this movie to affirm marriage, as long as it takes place out of mutual love and respect, not just lust. Sure this movie delivers plenty of shock power and may leave you with a feeling of bitterness, but overall this, as Devito's character (a lawyer and the narrator) mentions, is a "cautionary tale." Keep that in mind and you will find yourself wriggling in your seat with laughter and shock from the onscreen antics as Douglas and Turner terrorize each other onscreen."