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A family of six has no place to live. The householder wanna sell the place, and they can't afford it. Rose is the mother, she is with the four kids during daytime, phoning hotels and other shelters for places to stay at night. John Paul is the man of the "house" and he does bring in some cash. It seem hopless to find a place to stay permanently and there's a stuggle just to get a place for the night.
A tough watch that reminds me a bit of "I, Daniel Blake" or other darker UK films. Realistic and well acted, and clocking in at just 80 minutes or so it never bore you.
7.5 out of 10 toothbrushes.
This was a brilliantly engaging movie. A story well told. Excellent acting and Roddy Doyle's screenplay identifies could be any misfortuanate, but loving, family. A loving mother and father with their children and the social reality of homelessness. Watch this film!
A film every Irish person should see
Tackling the current homeless crisis in Dublin, Rosie is as relevant and timely a film as you're ever likely to see. Directed by Paddy Breathnach, and written by Roddy Doyle, the film is an intimate character drama rather than an angry piece of protest cinema. Doyle is much more interested in imparting to the audience that homelessness could happen to almost anyone, and rather than evoke ire, he wants to evoke empathy. Unfortunately, the lack of major stars, the almost non-existent advertising campaign, and the grim subject matter will hamper its commercial prospects, and chances are it will pass from cinema screens without much of an impact.
Tthe film tells the story of the Davis family; mother Rosie (Sarah Greene), father John Paul (Moe Dunford), and four children - thirteen-year-old Kayleigh (Ellie O'Halloran), eight-year-old Millie (Ruby Dunne), six-year-old Alfie (Darragh Mckenzie), and four-year-old Madison (Molly McCann). Several days previously, the family were forced to leave their rented private home of seven years when the landlord decided to sell the property, and they are now living out of their car. As John Paul works every hour he can, Rosie spends the day looking after the kids and trying to arrange temporary alternative accommodation.
The most important aspect of the film is that the Davis family are a completely normal working-class family, meeting none of the commonly held (mis)conceptions about the homeless, and the film challenges at every turn the stereotypical images we have of such people. An important scene in this respect is when Rosie visits her brother-in-law and his wife. When he refers to the family being homeless, she quickly chastises him, telling him "don't use that word", speaking volumes to cultural stigma and social labelling.
As with all social realist cinema, Rosie deals with the privations of the working class, and voices a critique of prevailing social structures. However, the nature and target of that critique is less conspicuous than we often find in the work of Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, or Antonia Bird. Doyle is not interested in sermonising about the failings of the State, concerning himself more with what the housing crisis means to real people in practical terms. Eliciting empathy and compassion, his script is remarkable for its sense of restraint; rather than the characters speechifying about their plight, they devote all their energies to simply getting through the day.
From an aesthetic point of view, the scenes in the family's car (which comprise a sizable portion of the film) are suitably cramped and claustrophobic, with a palpable sense of unrest growing ever more prominent as the film continues. In contrast, however, many of the exterior scenes are shot in such a way as to feel disconcertingly empty, with Rosie often dwarfed in the frame.
One especially well managed aspect of the film is how it deals with the task of ringing around the various hotels trying to find a room, going through the exact same conversation over and over and over again. Before we see anything, we hear a radio report talking about the homeless crisis, followed by Rosie ringing the first number on her list. Then the image fades in. This conversation becomes a refrain, and is continued throughout the film.
As for the performances, Greene is outstanding as Rosie, carrying the bulk of the film, and most of the emotional weight. Her attempts to remain calm in front of the kids, never losing her temper or chastising them for being frustrated with their situation, and her sorrow and regret on the few occasions when she does, are utterly heart-breaking. It's an extraordinarily subtle and layered performance that rings completely true. The ever-reliable Moe Dunford is also excellent in the slightly under-written role of John Paul, imbuing the character with a warmth and fragility, especially noticeable in a heart-breaking scene in which he reveals to Rosie his shame at not being able to adequately provide for or protect his family.
Although Rosie is about a national crisis, it's also intensely personal. Doyle may not be outwardly concerned with politics, but his sense of anger is unmistakable, and Rosie should make audiences angry too. And it probably will. The problem is that it will have a very small audience. This is not Cathy Come Home being watched by 12 million people on the BBC in 1966. This is a small independent film playing on a few screens across the country, a film of which the vast majority of the cinema-going public have never even heard. In the end, despite the fact that it's exceptionally well made, deeply affecting, and flawlessly acted, Rosie won't make much of a difference or have much of an impact. And that's a crying shame.