THE ROSE MAKER – Review by Susan Wlosczczyna

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While Mother Nature is busy making sure that spring is “sprunging,” The Rose Maker is a perfect reflection of the season. In fact, I wish that French director and co-writer Pierre Pinaud could have used Smell-O-Vision cards to allow viewers to sniff the aromas of the flowers on screen.

But while gorgeous blooms fill out the frames, we are introduced to the ingratiating Madame Eve Vernet (Catherine Frot), a middle-ager who is having a hard time financially as a nursery grower who cultivates new strains of roses. One who can’t deny her habit of smoking from a pipe or calming herself with red wine? She is determined to keep the business created by her father, who died 15 years ago, that bears her family name. Luckily, her loyal assistant Vera has found a way to keep her from bankruptcy as she enlists a 20-something young man named Fred, a 50-year-old man Samir and a shy adolescent girl Nadège — all misfits and happy to be set free from the state.

While the staffers are glad to eventually get a pay check once Eve decides to sell a fair share of roses for bouquets and flower arrangements, they must be tutored in the art of sniffing scents and cross-pollinating with other roses to make new breeds. Fred, who bears a rose and lion sleeve tattoo, is the most valuable member of the crew since he has a knack for larcency and a nose for aromas. That allows Fred to snatch a rare plant from the slick owner of a giant industrial corporate rose farm, who desperately wants to buy out Eve. He uses the clipping to cultivate a new fragrant rose scent that might let her to keep her business going if she enters her new strain.

As for the humans onscreen, they also get rooted, too, and make a great team as they go on to future endeavors. There are a few amusing moments, such as when a wordless gangsta-type rap tune breaks out when Fred does his deed. And I must say it’s been eons since I have heard the song “Red Roses for a Blue Lady” sung by Dean Martin that opens the movie.

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Susan Wloszczyna

In her nearly 30 years at USA Today, Susan Wloszczyna interviewed everyone from Vincent Price and Shirley Temple to Julia Roberts and Will Smith. Her coverage specialties include animation, musicals, comedies and any film starring Hayley Mills, Sandy Dennis or hobbits. Her crowning career achievements so far, besides having Terence Stamp place his bare feet in her lap during an interview for The Limey, is convincing the paper to send her to New Zealand twice for set visits, once for The Return of the King and the other for The Chronicles of Narnia and King Kong, and getting to be a zombie extra and interview George Romero in makeup on the set for Land of the Dead. Though not impressive enough for Pulitzer consideration, she also can be blamed for coining the moniker "Frat Pack," often used to describe the comedy clique that includes Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. Her positions have included Life section copy desk chief for four years and a film reviewer for 12 years. She is currently a contributor for the online awards site Gold Derby and is an Oscar expert for RogerEbert.com. Previously, she has been a freelance film reporter and critic, contributing regularly to RogerEbert.com, MPAA’s The Credits, the Washington Post, AARP The Magazine online and Indiewire as well as being a book reviewer for The Buffalo News. She previously worked as a feature editor at the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y. A Buffalo native, she earned her bachelor's degree in English at Canisius College and a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.