Was the concept of "Rosebud" an anticlimax to Citizen Kane?
I think that anyone who thinks the reveal of Rosebud at the end of Citizen Kane is anticlimactic are missing the primary point of the movie.
Citizen Kane is not a traditional narrative. Charles Foster Kane is revealed to the viewer through the views of the people who knew him in life, and WE are the reporter, taking in these different perspectives and forming our opinion of the man. The question of what Rosebud is, what his last words mean, it’s a plot device to drive the narrative and dramatic thrust of the movie, which is “Who is Charles Foster Kane?”
Saint, sinner, lover, scoundrel… He is all of these, and none of these. He is a complex man, someone that can’t be easily explained with a single word. He is like all of us. When Rosebud is finally revealed it is not to the reporter or his peers, but only to us… And even then, the meaning of what Rosebud was to Kane is left to us to interpret.
We learn what the “missing piece (peace?)” was, but we don’t know what it meant to Charles Foster Kane. Because Charles Foster Kane is no longer around to answer that, and the reporters have left… no one is left to ask him.
There are many things that make Citizen Kane a masterpiece, but I’d say this bold brilliant narrative structure is the most important “piece.” The measure of a man is what he leaves behind… The memories, the impact he made in people’s lives, and the objects he created or collected. Charles Foster Kane left a mansion filled with things, and only a handful of mourners.
Any sentiment or meaning that Rosebud had went up in smoke, and died with Charles Foster Kane.