Rosetta - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Rosetta Reviews

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February 24, 2018
1001 movies to see before you die.
½ August 1, 2017
Rosetta is an engaging and hard-hitting but deeply flawed drama. It is well directed and acted, it is important to see and the almost animalistic behavior of its protagonist was interesting to see. But the film lost me with Rosetta herself who is such a downright terrible human being and had she been more likable, the movie would have been much more tragic.
½ June 3, 2017
"Rosetta" is genuine art, where everything seems to be a race against time before disaster, being an exhausting drama difficult to digest. It is heavily symbolic and ends the religiosity of hope and humanism, sowing a pain that will draw every audience from their former comfort. 93/100
February 1, 2017
A beautifully made film about absolute, never-ending misery. Oh, it's extremely hard to watch, of course, I had a lot of trouble watching it. I tuned out, it was too much at one point. But you'll appreciate just how well the cinematography captures Rosetta's horrible life.
November 15, 2015
Intense with subtle methods. Beautifully and respectfully made around the concept of the most fundamental of needs and expectations.
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
½ October 8, 2015
Rosetta is a good film to watch as a break from your typical ultra-polished CGI-filled fare. The handheld camera work was fine and gave the film a pseudo-documentary / portrait feel which I think works better than framing it a traditional drama. Would have rated it up more but the ending did not feel like it fit and could have been done better.
April 9, 2015
Another Dardenne masterpiece.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
August 1, 2014
"All I want to do when I wake up in the morning is see your eyes, Rosetta, Rosetta!" Yeah, I don't know if this film is quite that upbeat, not necessarily because it's so sad, but because it won the Palm d'Or, therefore, it must not be especially entertaining. It was bound to win it, because it's French-Belgian, about poverty and alcoholism, and is by the Belgian Coen brothers, the Dardenne brothers, which makes it some serious critic bait. I don't know how classy it can be when it reveals something to me that just plain blows my mind: they have trailer parks in Belgium. Maybe I should borrow the title character's stone and get a better understanding of European culture, because this is news to me. As an Alabamian, I can tell you that I am unsure if European cinema can even class that kind of joint up, but so help us all, the Dardennes are going to try. Well, they seem to have satisfied most critics, but if you ask me, although they made this film pretty serious, they didn't exactly make it interesting, despite some efforts.

There's barely anything to the technical value of the film, thus, Alain Marcoen probably couldn't help the grain over his cinematography, but it all works out, as the questionable definition of the filming adds a rugged grit which proves to be more effective in immersing you into this type of drama than the handheld style of the filming. The effectiveness of any form of style in this film hinges on how it is handled by the directorial duo of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, who seem to either abuse their artistic license any chance they get, or, well, just plain laze out, but distance more often than not either way, though not exactly consistently. Although there is virtually no dynamicity to the tone of this drama, there is some effectiveness to the Dardennes' constant, tediously monotonous meditativeness, and that is because there are occasions in which the brothers find material to meditate on in this promising story concept. Well, maybe it's not exactly the plot concept itself that carries that much potential, - as the lead is unlikable and her trials are relatively light in scale - as much as it's the overall subject matter of this portrait on the struggles of a young woman who comes of age before her time on the back of poverty and looking out for herself, in the place of an unavailable guardian, from a hard world. The very human themes of the film can at least be commended as worthy, and when dramatic heights are reached in this predominantly cold affair, there's no denying that, which isn't to say that you ever forget the weight of this drama, as leading lady Émilie Dequenne, at only seventeen, nails the nuance and emotional layers of this type of struggling youth to carry the final product arguably more than she should. Mind you, a shortage of material holds Dequenne's efforts back, and the problematic drawing of the titular Rosetta character holds back Dequenne's engagement value, but if no one else tries, it's this very important factor in this very meditative character study. Dequenne and some storytelling highlights may be what save the final product from collapsing as contemptible, and yet, with that said, they'd have to work really, really hard to make this film compelling, because at the end of the day, the final product falls flat, particularly with its characterization.

Naturalist in structure, this film really doesn't take any time to flesh out its characters, tossing ultimately inconsequential-feeling supporting roles in and out, and not even putting much exposition into the lead Rosetta character, who is relatable and well-portrayed, but is going to need a lot of exposition before you can get invested in her, due to her being such a problematic lead. I can understand the frustration of Rosetta and her peers, but outside of the charming Fabrizio Rongione's good-hearted Riquet role, no one is likable in this film, and I when I say, "no one", I am largely referring Rosetta, whose dull and angsty attitude, bitterness to everyone around her, - including the well-intentioned - and even doing some seriously low-down deeds for the benefit of herself make her a chore of a lead. Maybe her struggles would be more compelling if they weren't so familiar, because as much as I commend the value of this subject matter, this story is in no moderate way new, even in the way it's told. Seeing as how his is a very European drama, you can probably figure where I'm heading with this, because the reason why there is no exposition is because this is one of those pseudo-experimental, hyper meditative naturalist dramas which lack structure, aimlessly wandering along and trying too hard to establish a sense of realism through a dismissal of score work and a dependence of technical shoddy handheld filming. Wikipedia notes us ignorant Americans' lauding of the lack of score work and of the questionable style as "major factor[s] in [the film's] overall tone", but the irony in such a statement is that without those factors, as well as other elements that try too hard to form naturalism, no tone is formed, or at least not much of one, for although there are effective occasions once direction finds material to draw upon, on the whole, this film lacks resonance, and such a formula is made all the more tedious by sheer monotony. This film's runtime of just barely over 90 minutes is borderline miniscule, but then again, the combination of the story concept and the storytelling style is even more so, thus, this film meanders around and around the same formula of extensive quietness and a whole lot of nothing, and does it all backed by a tone that is thin to begin with, and completely deprived of dynamicity. I suppose I have to give some praise to monotony of the film, as the film is at least too bland to be bad, but make no mistake, it's terribly bland, and often dull, having but a few highlights amidst vacant meanderings, until the final product is secured as flat.

In the end, immersive cinematography and directorial highlights reflect the grit of a worthy story concept, and punctuate a consistent degree of engagement value that is anchored by Émilie Dequenne's nuanced performance, yet the lead and most of her peers are neither well-developed or likable, just as the abstract storytelling style proves to be unoriginal and distancing, and is made all the more tedious by monotonous scripting, until the Dardenne brothers' "Rosetta" falls flat as a generally cold and arguably tedious meditation on coming of age in Belgium in the midst of poverty.

2/5 - Weak
½ July 1, 2014
Visceral, unpredictable. thanks to handheld camera.
May 17, 2014
Like a rose, Rosetta is beautiful character with many thorns. Her performance is very natural, portraying someone who is struggling to have a better life.
February 8, 2014
This is a portrait of a teenager who has taken on far too much responsibility (because of an alcoholic mother and missing father) at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder in French-speaking Belgium. It's shot in the Dardennes' unique style, which involves a handheld camera held very close to the protagonist. This creates a certain amount of suspense and/or anxiety - you can't see a lot of the context or even the people immediately surrounding Rosetta in some shots. Because Rosetta is tough, often running, fighting, stressing, the close camera on her back brings the viewer along for a hyper-kinetic visceral ride. The viewer is also placed in a morally compromised position - you want to identify with Rosetta, particularly because you have sympathy for her plight, but she doesn't always act nicely or morally. Perhaps this is explicable psychologically, or perhaps not. The film is open to interpretation - this gives it greater impact. I wonder, though, how many films the Dardennes can make in this vein - truly there are some great ones, but watching this early outing, I can see that there is some later retread.
½ November 27, 2013
about this feral teenage girl looking for a job
½ October 14, 2013
i thought this was very good. it's interesting to me how compelling a story about not much but following someone around for a few days can be. she's nearly destitute and so angry about it, yet the cinema verite shows us how it would be, as a quiet introverted girl compelled to be alone.
October 4, 2013
Disturbing story of deep poverty in Belgium. A teenage girl around age 18, uneducated and unskilled, struggles to survive on her own. The few jobs she finds are all temporary, no one will give her permanent work and she refuses to be a beggar or to accept welfare. She also has an alcoholic mom with no initiative and possible mental illness to take care of. She seems upstanding, virtuous and a hard worker but the need becomes so great she back stabs and betrays the one person who is kind and supportive to her just to get a steady job, a male teen who then proceeds to harass her. The film was so powerful it actually changed laws in Belgium.
April 25, 2013
A wonderfully understated and visually simple study of Rosetta, a determined young woman who lives in a trailer park in France and tries to find a job and a normal life. Unsentimental and hard. Never melodramatic. Though in French, most of the film proceeds in powerful, visual silence and poetic repetitions.
April 7, 2013
A movie I will never forget.
March 16, 2013
The Dardenne brothers show us the stories of society's abandoned and forgotten. Here a determined teenage girl wants only a normal life and we see how everything is stacked against her. Beautiful film in the Dardennes' unmistakable style.
March 4, 2013
This is kind of a film gives us the example of a person's,specially of a girl,struggle to live her life without comprise or seeking help from anyone. Rosetta, the young protagonist's character with eccentrics and adolescent physical sickness,is full of dignity and that fills her inner being full of rage to watch the unkindness of circumstances around for a person grown up from lower class of society and survives through this ordeal called life.The director never puts the camera off to her face or her action to feel the exact agony and wants to hit the exact string of pain in us.Every second of the film,just some days of the girl's life demonstrated so intensely with razor sharp editing that one would miss many of that only by closing eye for a second.
½ February 26, 2013
The films of the Dardenne Brothers are not innocuous, sentimentally inspirational films, nor are they realist films. They are cinematic poetry. The camera is always an intimate lover of the main character(s) and therefore WE become the lover or confidant or voyeur of the main character(s). They swoop in ever godlike and provide viewers with a front row glimpse of the inner recesses of troubled and desperate minds. This is why their films are not easy. They open the wound of reality so that we can examine the enigmatic within. Rosetta is no exception.
½ December 29, 2012
The Dardennes are two for two in my book. Christ this is good filmmaking. Can't wait to see more of their stuff.
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