Rambling Rose is a dramatic film that was released in 1991. It takes place during the Great Depression. Laura Dern plays Rose, a young woman trying to keep stable employment during the Depression and keep from falling into the field of prostitution that traps so many women. She ends up getting hired by the Hillyer family to work as a servant in their home. The Hillyer family is one of the few wealthy families in town, actually owning their own hotel. Rose has many issues with love, relationships, and sex because she was abused as a child. She ends up developing a crush on Mr. Hillyer but he continually turns her down. Rose is such a beautiful woman and so used to male attention that she isn't sure how to manage when Mr. Hillyer turns her down. Rose is a woman who is desperately seeking male attention and affection. It is the only way she knows how to feel love.
Mrs. Hillyer turns out to be a good mentor to Rose. Mrs. Hillyer is a feminist in a time when many women were not and she is working on her doctorate degree. Rambling Rose deals with a lot of challenging sexual issues and sexual dynamics are at the forefront throughout the film. There is one scene where an underage boy has his first sexual experience with an older woman.
Rose's personality and sexual nature change the Hillyer family as well. The Hillyers consider themselves to be progressive people but Rose's activities are seen as incredibly promiscuous by many people in the town. Her presence in the Hillyer family's lives challenges a lot of their core beliefs. The film is told in a series of flashbacks by the young Hillyer son as he reminiscences about the effects Rose has had on his life.