Love, lust, forgiveness, remorse, tolerance, sin, violence and death—these are just some of the themes engaged in The ,Ballad of Jack and Rose. It’s the third feature film by writer-director Rebecca Miller (Personal Velocity, Angela), a former painter and actress who is the daughter of the late playwright Arthur Miller.
This challenging movie, shown mostly in out-of-the-way venues, has been panned by critics who find it less than subtle and not very believable. Have they forgotten that Ingmar Bergman, considered by many the most influential art movie director of the 20th century, made a series of celebrated films that took place on a barren island that served as a microcosm of ethical choices and moral dilemmas? Have we reached the stage where only subtitled symbolism can avoid being labeled “obvious” or “over the top”?