Film: Audrey Rose
Director: Robert Wise
Writer: Frank De Felitta
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Marsha Mason and John Beck
This film begins showing us a car driving down the highway. It is raining out. We see a car come across the median and then heads straight for the car that we are following. There is a crash and the car rolls off the road. A fire starts and there is a young girl in the backseat.
We then shift from Pennsylvania, where the car accident happened, to New York City. There is a family that is made up of Marsha Mason, her husband John Beck and their daughter who is played by Susan Swift. We see them as they live their lives, but we also see there is a man that is following them, he is played by Anthony Hopkins.
There is then a day when Mason is waiting for Swift to get out of school and she looks over at Hopkins. He then looks at her and she immediately looks away. Swift then gets out and she tells her mother about her day as they walk home. Hopkins follows them, which makes Mason upset. She gets up to their place and looks out the window to see if he is still out there. Beck comes home from work early and she alerts him to the man.
Beck decides to go see a police officer about what he can do about Hopkins. He is told though that there is nothing he can do, until Hopkins does something threatening. Beck tells him about Hopkins following his family as well as himself at work. The officer tells him that is not a crime.
The film then shifts to an accident. Something with a car happened and Mason is sitting on the ground. She is disoriented and a police officer is trying to help her. She asks what the time is and realizes that Swift will be out of school soon. She leaves the scene and tries to get to the school in time. She doesn’t and Swift is no where to be found. Mason hurries home, hoping she is there and runs into Hopkins. She is terrified and he picks up her purse and returns it to her. He tells her that he walked Swift home and she is upstairs, safe. He also tells her that he will be calling that night to talk to her and her husband.
Mason goes up and scolds Swift for walking with Hopkins. This also makes Beck irate when he learns what happened. Mason wants to go to the police with what happened and Beck tells her that he already did and there is nothing that they can do. Hopkins calls that night and wants to meet both of them to tell them his story.
They meet and it turns out that Hopkins had a daughter who passed away. She was the little girl in the car that crashed and was burned alive. Hopkins had gone to see a psychic after her death and was told that this daughter lived. He then went to see another savant who told him the same thing, including important details about his daughter. Hopkins studied Eastern philosophies and believes his daughter, Audrey Rose, has been reincarnated as their daughter Ivy Templeton.
There is then a call at the restaurant for the parents and their daughter is having a nightmare. She goes to the window and screams that it is hot.
Beck goes to see a lawyer, played by John Hillerman. Hillerman wants Beck to have Hopkins over and to get him to say something while he is listening so they can use it against him to get an injunction with the courts. This backfires when Swift has another episode while Hopkins is there and he calms her down, by calling her Audrey Rose. She had burned alive in the car and was hitting the windows. Swift burns her hands touching a cold window as well.
Swift continues to have more episodes. Beck is against Hopkins helping, but in her panic, Mason reaches out to him. One of these times, Hopkins takes Swift home so she can sleep. This gets him arrested and he ends up in a court. His defense is to prove that she has been reincarnated from his daughter and that he should be able to be there to help. What will the courts rule? What will become of this family? And most importantly, what will happen to poor Ivy Templeton?
The first time I saw this film, I found it to be good, but it was the second time that I viewed it that I really appreciated it. This film has a great story and an interesting concept. I personally do not believe in reincarnation, but I know there are a lot of people that do. It is interesting that Swift as Ivy has nightmares around her birthday, which was the same day that Audrey died, of her dying like Audrey. That would be a scary thing to go through as a parent, knowing that you can’t do anything to help or stop it. I felt that the acting was really good in this film as well. I really want to commend Swift. She did a great job as a child actor, which I will say that they are normally not that good. This was her film debut and I thought she was great.
I really wanted to voice on the dynamics of this film as well. You have Hopkins who believes that Swift has the soul of his daughter. He doesn’t want a lot, just to be a part of Ivy’s life. I see his side of this. Beck also is in an interesting spot. He doesn’t want to believe that it is possible and he feels by changing his belief, that this will ruin his family. I do think that Hopkins’ demands were not that big and it could have worked. He is actually tearing his family apart by believing that Hopkins is tearing it apart. Mason is also interesting in this. She stands by her husband at first, but then the more she sees, the more she believes that Hopkins is telling the truth. She is concerned about her daughter, where it also seems to me that Beck doesn’t have Swift’s best intentions in his mind. I believe he loves her, but he is definitely misguided.
This film does come with its issues though. It was slightly boring at times and a bit repetitive. This film is technically horror, but it isn’t scary. When it gets to the court aspect of the film, I lost a little bit of interest. The episodes that Swift has are pretty much the same, but I can’t fault the film too much for that, because it isn’t like she could manifest a lot of other things.
Now with that said, I would recommend this film. It has an interesting concept that doesn’t mesh with mainstream beliefs, but the film does present the facts that it could be accepted as possible something that happens when we pass away. I think the acting was good and the story was as well. I think there are some great dynamics that are working against each other. It did get slightly boring to me for a bit as well as repetitive. It also isn’t scary, except for feeling horrible for Swift. The ending is sad as well as making you feel better for her. I believe this film is quite interesting and deserving a viewing.
My Rating: 7 out of 10