Roses Are for the Rich (1987) Lisa Hartman, Bruce Dern, Joe Penny, Richard Masur Movie Review

Roses Are for the Rich (1987)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Lisa Hartman in Roses Are for the Rich (1987)

Hartman's Autumn Rose

From a young age Autumn (Lisa Hartman) had always been in love with Lonnie Norton (Jim Youngs) despite him being a few years older than her and when she became a young woman they got married. But shortly after their marriage and with Lonnie vocal in his annoyances with mine owner Douglas Osborne (Bruce Dern) there is a suspicious accident at the mine which leaves her a young widow. Having lost everyone else she loved over the years Autumn vows to destroy Douglas Osborne no matter what it takes which includes marrying him. But when Osborne dies due to poisoning the finger of suspicion ends up pointing at Autumn despite her claims of innocence.

From the opening credits which give us a sweeping bird's eye view over the Osborne's estate near the small town in Appalachia to a shot of Autumn in a bubble bath, surrounded by the trappings of wealth and delivering a cold hearted stare "Roses Are for the Rich" screams out 80s soap opera. That's not much of a shock as it is a product of the 80s when big hair and big stares as well as big stairs were all the rage when it came to TV dramas. As such watching "Roses Are for the Rich" now almost 30 years later achieves two things; gives you a blast of nostalgia for 80s TV and the soap opera style dramas of the time and also a big smile as you are reminded how cheesy these things really were.

Bruce Dern in Roses Are for the Rich (1987)

Now I could go on and on about the styling in "Roses Are for the Rich" because from glamorous outfits, bedroom scenes and teasing moments of suggested nudity it is extremely typical of the era. In the same breath I could also mention the acting and characters which is as era typical as the styling with nice guys being soft, rich guys being conceited and the women all seeming to have a catty side which allows them to lock down that laser stare as their evil sides emerge from beneath their big hair. As such trust me when I say you won't remember "Roses Are for the Rich" for the acting skills of Lisa Hartman, Joe Penny or any of the cast but in that cheesy nostalgic way you will probably enjoy it, smiling when in yet another scene Joe Penny's shirt is ripped off by a lingerie wearing Hartman.

That really does leave me the storyline which right away I will say it is stretched out to make "Roses Are for the Rich" a 3 hour drama, give or take a minute. And as with everything else which is typical about this TV movie the way this plays out is just as typical as we start with Autumn's arrest for the murder of Douglas, which for added drama happens during the reading of his will. Then there is the flashback to the start as we get everything building up to that point as Autumn works her way through an extended plan to exact revenge on the Osborne family, using men along the way. But then we also get the post-arrest part which is solving who is actually responsible for Douglas' death which means we get some courtroom drama although the majority of the movie focuses on the build up to Autumn's arrest. Whilst it is drawn out it is actually entertaining in that 80s way of high drama and a shed load of contrivances.

What this all boils down to is that even if you have never watched it before "Roses Are for the Rich" is a blast from the past with its 80s soap opera styling and melodrama. As such it won't be for everyone but for those who were hooked on the big hair melodramas of the 80s it will be a bit of a nostalgic journey to simpler times.