Review: ‘In the Company of Rose’ Is a Pleasant Portrait

In 2014, film and theater director James Lapin was invited to a lunch at Martha’s Vineyard with author Rose Styron, widow of novelist William Styron (The Confessions of Nat Turner, Sophie’s Choice). . During lunch, Lappin began recording an impromptu interview with Rose. Unlike mortals, Lappin (a protean powerhouse in the American art world who wrote and directed Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park with George) turned a feature film out of such an encounter. I have the means to spin a movie.

Comprised of archival footage and interviews done with more sophisticated equipment over the years, In the Company of Rose is certainly a delightful portrait of a tenuous world, but its vanity. Nothing beyond the origin of the project. Probably not. Lapine, who narrates the film, admits, “I often went into projects without really knowing what I was doing.” Rose, too, seems to be moving forward without calculating too much about her life. She remembers being unimpressed with Styron at a reading of his first novel, Lying in the Dark, but she hit it off in Rome afterwards. Rose was studying abroad and William was living on a fellowship.

Rose, now 95, is kind, bubbly and outspoken, and has a knack for telling celebrity stories without sounding badass. She had been typing her Styron work for nearly a decade. As she became interested in human rights, she traveled for Amnesty International. She said that she and her husband resembled her typical 1950s American couple, and that she lived in marriage “not by talking about things, but mainly by not talking about them,” she said. Told. But when Styron suffered from depression in the 1980s, she was instrumental in his recovery and encouraged him to write what became one of his most famous works, the memoir Darkness Visible. As with the tenuous world of existence, this world lives in abundance as well.

with rose
Unrated. Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes.Available for rent or purchase at the theater most major platforms.

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