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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Love, Rosie

love rosie

DIR: Christian Ditter • WRI: Juliette Towhidi, Cecelia Ahern PRO: Simon Brooks, Robert Kulzer  ED: Tony Cranstoun DES: Matthew Davies CAST: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin, Tamsin Egerton, Suki Waterhouse, Jaime Winstone, Christian Cooke, Art Parkinson

According to the trailer for Love, Rosie,  the film adaptation of Cecilia Ahern’s Where Rainbows End,  “sometimes you don’t see that the best thing that’s ever happened to you is right under your nose.” However, that’s surely only the case for the protagonist Rosie. Indeed, in the one and a half hours of “missed” romantic opportunities that the audience is subjected to, there’s really no doubting what the “best thing” is for Rosie. Yes, you guessed it – it’s her best-friend-that-she’s-always-been-friends-with-but-maybe-really-fancied-but-never-thought-about-it-until-it-was-too-late.

However, I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t enjoy this film. It’s no Oscar-winner, but it’s certainly a good-natured tale of romance between two very attractive protagonists – Lily Collins as Rosie and Sam Clafin as her best friend/romantic interest Alex. In fact, associating Cecilia Ahern adaptations with the incomprehensibly terrible P.S I Love You (Richard LaGravenese, 2007), which comprised of Hilary Swank wandering from Wicklow to Whelans in the blink of an eye and Gerard Butler’s heinous attempt at an Irish accent, Love, Rosie is a breath of fresh air. However, the Irish setting remains slightly problematic insofar as the two protagonists have extremely proper English accents, while it is very clear that it was filmed in Ireland.

The opening scenes of the film are perhaps the most enjoyable part. Indeed, I was suitably impressed with the film’s attempts at cringey Girls-esque body humour, in which Rosie ends up in hospital with a condom stuck in her nether regions after a night spent with school stud Greg (Christian Cooke). Despite the promise of an innovative approach to the romantic comedy with such explicit gross-out scenes, it is a pity that Love, Rosie falls into an ever-so-formulaic narrative structure.

Added to the boredom of such a formula is the fact that Rosie ends up pregnant and decides to have the baby because – even though she doesn’t believe in all “that stuff” – her parents are Catholic so of course she’s having a baby. This narrative trajectory seems a little out of character for Rosie who appears to be full of ambition, knows where she’s going in life and who ends up pregnant after a one-night stand with a guy who does a runner when she admits she’s pregnant. Anyway, she has the baby, wheareas the male protagonist is allowed to go off and fulfil his dreams in Boston. Meanwhile, Rosie becomes a cleaner.

The years go by, the protagonists don’t age except for some quick hairstyle changes, Rosie’s daughter grows up into a rather precious brat and Rosie continues to be a cleaner. The baby-daddy returns, there are many tearful moments akin to a Douglas Sirk melodrama and Rosie and Alex just can’t seem to get it together. Will love prevail throughout the years of heartbreak and missed opportunities? Can life ever be good again? I won’t ruin it for you. Everyone loves a good cliff-hanger.

 Heather Browning

15A (See IFCO for details)

102 minutes

Love, Rosie  is released 24th October 2014

Love, Rosie – Official Facebook

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Constantin Film begins production on Love, Rosie

LoveRosie[1]

 

Production began on Monday (13th May) on Love, Rosie, a romantic comedy based on the bestselling book Where Rainbows End from Irish author Cecelia Ahern (P.S. I Love You). Love, Rosie will be filming on location in Toronto, Canada before moving to Dublin, Ireland for the remainder of the shoot.

The film stars Lily Collins (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Mirror Mirror) and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Snow White and the Huntsman) as Rosie and Alex, best friends since school who find that life often gets in the way of love but, true love just like true friendship, never dies. The question is will life allow them to get back into synch with each other after having missed so many opportunities?

Starring alongside Collins and Claflin are Jaime Winstone (Made in Dagenham, Donkey Punch, Kidulthood), Christian Cooke (Cemetery Junction), Suki Waterhouse (Pusher, Material Girls), Tamsin Egerton (St Trinian’s, Chalet Girl, The Look of Love), Jamie Beamish, Ger Ryan and Lorcan Cranitch.

A Constantin Film production in association with Canyon Creek Films and RD Film Productions, Love, Rosie is directed by Christian Ditter (Wickie and the Treasure of the Gods, The Crocodiles) from a screenplay by Juliette Towhidi (Calendar Girls). The film is produced by Constantin Film’s Robert Kulzer (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Resident Evil film franchise) alongside Canyon Creek Films’ Simon Brooks (White Noise). Executive Producer is Martin Moszkowicz (The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Resident Evil: Retribution).

Author Cecelia Ahern said today “I’m beyond excited that my novel Where Rainbows End is going into production now and that it’s being filmed in Canada and in Ireland. I can’t wait to see Rosie and Alex’s love story come to life on the big screen!”

Mister Smith Entertainment is handling foreign sales for Constantin Film. Constantin Film plans on releasing the film in 2014.

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