Irish Film Review: Rosie

DIR: Paddy Breathnach • WRI: Roddy Doyle • DOP: Cathal Watters • ED: Úna Ní Dhonghaíle • DES: Mark Kelly • PRO: Juliette Bonass, Rory Gilmartin, Emma Norton • MUS: Stephen Rennicks • CAST: Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford, Ellie O’Halloran

Paddy Breathnach’s Rosie, directed from a script by Roddy Doyle, is difficult to try and pigeonhole. It’s at once an authentic family drama, a heart-wrenchingly intimate character study and a warped sort of road film, with a tight focus on displacement, space and identity which is reminiscent of the French cinematic tradition. Crucially, though, with Irish people currently suffering in the midst of an ever-worsening housing crisis, Rosie is timely, well executed and – more than anything else – important.

The narrative follows Rosie (Sarah Greene) and her partner John Paul (Moe Dunford) as they suddenly find themselves homeless and in a desperate struggle to secure somewhere safe for themselves and their four children to stay.  We’re introduced to the characters as they try to go about their daily lives while living out of their car. John Paul is under immense pressure at work and it falls to Rosie to juggle looking after the kids during the day with simultaneously trying to locate beds for the night.

Greene is magnetic in the titular role, carrying a huge amount of the film’s emotional weight on her shoulders. The intensity of Rosie’s living situation, crammed into close quarters with her family, means that she’s barely able to find a private moment for herself. She’s constantly wearing a brave face, trying to remain steadfast and optimistic in front of the children, while a wave of quiet desperation rides right beneath the surface. Greene’s performance is subtle but greatly affecting – a slow sigh or gentle curl of a lip can speak volumes about Rosie’s condition and her character. She shares a crackling chemistry with the steadfast John Paul, who Dunford deftly imbues with a tenderness and fragility which belie his unflinching exterior.

The film challenges the stereotypical images surrounding homelessness and explores the extent to which the havoc wreaked by this housing crisis is crossing social class borders. Open houses are thronged with prospective buyers while spare hotel vacancies are quickly filled with displaced families seeking shelter. It is painfully evident that these hotels, generous as they are, can’t be homes, with children shushed and confined to their rooms for fear of disturbing regular guests. It is quietly moving to see the family’s belongings – regular household items from teddy bears to fairy liquid bottles – crammed into black refuse sacks in the back of their car. Doyle’s screenplay squares up to the stigma that comes hand in hand with the label ‘rough sleeper’. “We’re not rough anything” insists the eponym at the mere mention of the term.

Rosie and John Paul are both desperate to hide the harsh realities of their situation from the people around them, terrified of what they’ll think, and their need to remain unseen comes into conflict with their desire to do what’s best for their family.

Doyle began to write the film after hearing an interview with a woman in a similar situation. He recalls being particularly struck by her admission that her partner worked a 9-5 job during the day and was still forced to sleep rough at night. This dichotomy is one that he purposely keeps in focus throughout the story.

The script neatly side-steps convention and embraces a healthy amount of ambiguity, which really works in the film’s favour. The witty, minimalistic dialogue is recognisably Doyle’s and helps to inject great warmth into Rosie’s otherwise cold world. Particular praise must be reserved for his handling of the film’s minor characters, whom he smartly steers away from cliché territory.

Breathnach’s direction is confident and assured. He has a masterful handle on the story and capably guides the audience through the use of careful framing. Scenes inside the car feel suitably cramped and help to convey the growing unrest of its inhabitants. In contrast, exterior shots are often wide and empty, crafting a tangible sense of hopelessness. Rosie is the film’s focus and the camera intimately hones in on her face in a way that may have been invasive in the hands of a less accomplished filmmaker. Visually Breathnach has a firm command of imagery and symbolism, using repetition to stirring effect.

He has also coaxed strong performances from his younger cast members, most of whom are first-time actors. Darragh McKenzie shines as Rosie’s son Alfie, with one particularly turbulent scene in the final third leaving a lasting impression.

The film is steeped in realism and the world on-screen feels absolutely authentic. Shot on the streets of Dublin, its no-frills approach helps to make the drama feel like a documentary at times. We open with the sound of news broadcasters describing the severity of the housing crisis, blurring the lines between fact and fiction right off the bat. The score is minimalistic but used to great effect.

Rosie is a beautiful film which is bound to make audiences angry. Hiding just behind its lovable characters is a palatable undercurrent of rage, a pent-up anger at the very real plight that good people – men, women and children – are being put through on a daily basis in this country. This is a poignant story that feels intensely personal. Sadly, it’s also urgently political.

David Deignan

82 minutes
12A (see IFCO for details)
Rosie is released 12th October 2018



























Short Film of the Week: Watch ‘New Boy’ by Steph Green



After her success at the 25th Galway Film Fleadh, winning the Best Irish Feature Award for her film Run & Jump; here’s a chance to catch Steph Green’s Oscar-nominated short New Boy,which won Best Narrative Short at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival and was nominated for an Oscar.

Based on a short story by Roddy Doyle this poignant and comedic short film deftly captures the experience of being the new boy in school through the eyes of Joseph, a nine-year-old African boy.

New Boy was produced as part of the Short Cuts scheme

DIRECTOR: Steph Green
SCRIPT: Steph Green based on a story by Roddy Doyle
PRODUCER: Tamara Anghie
MAIN CAST: Olutunji Ebun-Cole; Norma Sheahan, Simon O’Driscoll, Fionn O’Shea, Sinead Maguire



Review and Photos from 2nd Underground Cinema Film Festival

 (The UCFF Award)

Highlights of the second Underground Cinema Film Festival which took place in five venues in the seaside town of Dun Laoghaire on the 9th-11th September included an introduction to his film, In The Name Of The Father, by Oscar nominated director Jim Sheridan; Q and A’s with Booker prize winning author Roddy Doyle, award winning filmmakers Terry McMahon, Ivan Kavanagh, Conor Horgan and actor Emmett Scanlan.

(Alan Sherlock and Denise Pattison)

70 shorts and 15 features were screened over three days. Over 200 people participated in a range of free workshops and the inaugural award for Outstanding Contribution to Film, TV and Theatre was presented to Peggy Lally in memory of one of Ireland’s favourite actors, Mick Lally.

(Dave Byrne and Mick Daniels)

 Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from this year’s festival: “A sense of community and family” and “…so enamoured by the exquisite hospitality… ( guests)… stayed longer than they intended…” are some of the quotes from festival attendees.

(Dave Byrne and Paul Bolger)

We are proud to announce our recent partnership with ECU The European Independent Film Festival. The future looks bright for UCFF as we begin the first of our monthly screenings in the lead up to next year’s festival. We are now accepting submissions. Please contact for further information.

Denise Pattison

All Photos by Kevin Griffin

(Dave Byrne and Una Kavanagh)

(Johnny Elliot and Dave Byrne)

(Terry McMahon and Dave Byrne)


More Details of The Underground Film Festival in Dun Laoghaire Announced

Submerge yourself in Independent Irish Film with the Underground Cinema Film Festival (UCFF) which will take place in Dun Laoghaire between September 9th and 11th.


This year’s festival offers an incredible mix of film for professional filmmakers as well as genuine film lovers. On offer this year are 70 short Irish films, 15 independent features, an Irish language programme, a children’s programme and free workshops from some of the country’s best writers, directors and actors including: Una Kavanagh, Noel Brady, Edwina Forkin, Marie Caffrey, Ali Coffey, Vinny Murphy and Ferdia MacAnna to name but a few.


Q&A sessions have been arranged with such renowned figures as director Terry McMahon (Charlie Casanova), actor Mark O’ Halloran (Adam & Paul), director Jason Figgis (3 Crosses) actor Emmett Scanlan (Blood, 3 Crosses) and director Conor Horgan (One Hundred Mornings).


Some of the highlights of this year’s festival include the Dublin Premiere of Charlie Casanova  (opening film) and the multi award winning Tin Can Man  (closing film). We are also delighted to be screening the 20th Anniversary of Screening of The Commitments followed by an interview with writer Roddy Doyle.


70 short films will be screened as part of the Shorts Section including Gerard Lough’s horror The Boogeyman, and David O’Neill’s The Shadowboxer.


Entertainment in the evening will be provided by Comedian Joe Rooney and Musicians and Artist Aindrias De Staic. For the kids, Sinead Monaghan will keep the young audience busy with her free puppet workshops and face painting.


UCFF Weekend will embrace 5 major venues in Dun Laoghaire: The IMC Cinema, The Royal Marine Hotel, The Kingston Hotel, The Dun Laoghaire Club and Privé Nightclub, the official Festival Club.



The event is crowned with The Underground Cinema Awards Ceremony held in Fiztpatrick’s Castle Hotel in Killiney on 17th September.


More information on tickets, programming and workshops can be found on


Line Up Announced for Underground Cinema Film Festival in Dun Laoghaire 9th -11th Sept

The Underground Film Festival have announced their program for this year’s festival which runs from Friday, 9th September to Sunday, 11th September at various venues across Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

Highlights include, the Dublin Premiere of the award-winning Charlie Casanova and the 20th Anniversary Screening of The Commitments with Roddy Doyle in attendance.  On top of that there is a special screening of The Secret Of Kells for the kids, over 70 short Irish films and an incredible selection of film workshops from some of the best experts in the business.

For full details visit



Dublin Swell
Left to right: Verena Cornwall, Creative Director of St. Patrick’s Festival; Sebastian Barry, poet; Cathy Kelly, author; Maureen Kennelly, organiser; Susan Kirby, CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival.

Gemma Creagh reports from St. Patrick’s Festival Literary event, DublinSwell

An amazing night of inspirational readings, from the hilarious to the heartbreaking to the downright confusing, DublinSwell took place in the spectacular venue of the Convention centre as part of the St. Patrick’s Festival 2011. Sold out with 2000 attendees, this was the largest single literary event to take place in Ireland and I got to experience it in the lovely comfort of my bloggers booth thanks to the lovely organizer, Chris!

Off to a great start, the epic event began with a round of introductions from Mary McAleese and Margaret Hayes, as well as Mike Murphy, in his dapper white suit, getting heckled by some rowdy literature fans – yes, they do exist for every art form! The line-up was almost unbelievable, so to say that us bloggers were exited would be an understatement akin to saying Charlie Sheen is a little bit odd.

Damien Dempsey was first up, reminding us of his musical talents after Between The Canals, by belting out his unique and deadly rendition of The Auld Triangle’. Our history, past and present was alive with words coming straight from the mouths of some of the most influential artists of our time. Yowsers. The first half saw some of Ireland’s top talent including: Barry McGovern reading Samuel Beckett; an outstanding performance from the Abbey theatre; a reading by bright young writer Claire Kilroy; the always-amazing musician Lisa Hannigan and finally the man himself, Seamus Heaney.

Phew! Only half way? This was a literary marathon – we broke for intermission nearing 10pm after a roller-coaster of emotional ups, downs and sideways. I was still reeling from the bizarre excerpt from Mark O’Rowe’s Terminus – wondering how the writer of the sweet, funny Intermission could traumatise me in such a way.

On the break, I secretly tried to cover up my lack of knowledge on a few of the writers (just in case anyone asked me what I thought of their earlier work) so I spent the break googleing. However, before I even got the chance to sneak in a pint, we were already listening to some amazing poetry, and round two had begun.

Dermot Bolger with his sons  Donnacha (left), and Diarmuid.
Dermot Bolger with his sons Donnacha (left), and Diarmuid.

If it had been a war… two was definitely the victor of the halves. Paul Durcan’s poetry took me by surprise, as since my Leaving Cert I have ingested poems quite infrequently, but I found his to be interesting, funny and powerful – what a combination! Loss was a common theme among the pieces of the evening, but nothing moved the crowd to such tears, myself included, as the reading of Venice by Dermot Bolger, a poem about the recent loss of his wife, which was accompanied by a musical piece, Sad and Beautiful‘, played by their two sons Donnacha and Diarmuid Bolger. This was absolutely heartbreaking and such a beautiful piece of writing – definitely the most memorable and touching of the evening.

The mood was much lightened with Paul Howard reading one of his sidesplittingly epic Ross O’Carroll-Kelly books, Mr S. and the Secrets of Andorra’s Box.­ The story, which with fair dues to Paul, was read in character, was one about of Ross looking for some strange from an American lunatic on roller skates and ending up causing quite a public spectacle. Tee hee, it had us in tears again, this time of laughter. Also definitely worth a mention was the patron saint of Irish film himself Neil Jordan who read from his book Mistaken; Joseph O’Connor and Ghost Light, and Roddy ‘the Snapper’ Doyle with his special Saint Patrick’s Festival story, Brilliant! ­Which it was, of course…

By the time this event was over, it was past twelve and I was worded out! After the feast of highs, lows and literary legends ­spanning one looong evening – I doubt anyone could claim they didn’t get their money’s worth. I’m still in amazement at the line up, which is what I’ll leave you with as you mark it in your calendar for next year…

Mike Murphy – Master of Ceremonies

Margaret Hayes – Chair, Dublin UNESCO City of Literature

President of Ireland Mary McAleese

Damien Dempsey – Dominic Behan’s The Auld Triangle

Barry McGovern – Samuel Beckett’s Watt

Christine Dwyer-HickeyThe Cold Eye of Heaven

Biddy JenkinsonAb Dhroimeanaigh (music by Seán McErlaine, imagery by Margaret Lonergan)

Sebastian BarryA Long Long Way

Abbey Theatre – Sean O’Casey’s The Plough and the Stars

Mike Scott with Iona Marshall – W.B. Yeats’ September 1913

Gerry StembridgeUnspoken

Eamon Morrissey – Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal

Claire KilroyAll Names Have Been Changed

Abbey Theatre – Mark O’Rowe’s Terminus

Lisa HanniganLille

Seamus Heaney – Poems

Interval ( – or drinks time as it’s commonly known)

Paul Durcan – Poems

Declan Hughes – City of Lost Girls

Dermot Bolger with Donnacha & Diarmuid BolgerSad and Beautiful/Venice

Mike Scott with Iona Marshall This Is The Sea

Paula Meehan – Poems

Damien Dempsey – Sing All Our Cares Away

Paul Howard – (Ross O’Carroll-Kelly) Mr S. and the Secrets of Andorra’s Box

Cathy KellyYou’ve Got Mail

Abbey Theatre – Marina Carr’s Marble

Neil JordanMistaken

Claire Kilroy – Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant

Joseph O’Connor with Robbie OversonGhost Light

Roddy DoyleBrilliant!

Sebastian Barry James Joyce’s A Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man

Mike Scott with Iona Marshall – W.B. Yeats’ Let The Earth Bear Witness


Adaptation Adepts

Adaptation Adepts
Adaptation Adepts

Declan Recks talks to Roddy Doyle, Pat McCabe and Eugene O’Brien about the art of adaptation. Words by Eamonn Gray. Photos by Nicola Bodano.

Read Part I here
Read Part II here