Rosetta (1999)

R  |   |  Drama  |  22 September 1999 (Belgium)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 8,506 users   Metascore: 76/100
Reviews: 87 user | 83 critic | 19 from

Young and impulsive Rosetta lives with her alcoholic mother and, moved by despair, she will do anything to maintain a job.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Yernaux ...
The Mother
The Boss
Bernard Marbaix ...
The Campgrounds Manager
Frédéric Bodson ...
The Head of Personnel
Florian Delain ...
The Boss's Son
Christiane Dorval ...
First Saleswoman
Mireille Bailly ...
Second Saleswoman
Thomas Gollas ...
The Mother's Boyfriend
Leon Michaux ...
First Policeman (as Léon Michaux)
Victor Marit ...
Second Policeman
Colette Regibeau ...
Madame Riga
Claire Tefnin ...
Girl in Locker Room
Sophia Leboutte ...
Fired Woman


The first scene, like almost all others, is a fighting scene. A girl, about 18, is sacked from her factory work because her trial period is over. The girl, Rosetta, is quite upset and the cops will have to arrive to get her out. She has her reasons: she lives in a caravan, with her alcoholic mother. She goes looking for work as some go to the war. Treasons, murders are in her mind, if not in her acts. Written by Gregoire Dubost <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

22 September 1999 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

Розета  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$20,187 (USA) (5 November 1999)


$261,475 (USA) (28 January 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rosetta: Your name is Rosetta. My name is Rosetta. You found a job. I found a job. You've got a friend. I've got a friend. You have a normal life. I have a normal life. You won't fall in a rut. I won't fall in a rut. Good night. Good night.
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User Reviews

It's a hard life -- crude and bitter medicine: harsh poverty unabashedly delivered and desperation complete
2 January 2000 | by (sf, usa) – See all my reviews

This is beyond the intensity of Gary Oldman's "Nil By Mouth", and Tim Roth's "The War Zone", while Erick Zonca's "Dreamlife of Angels" seems heavenly compared to the conditions presented in "Rosetta" by Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne.

A down right harsh film. Unsparingly direct depiction of a young girl's poverty struggle. She is as tough as she can be. She fights vigorously to hang on to a job. She cares for her mother, a helpless alcoholic, and a seamstress when not drunk. Rosetta (Emilie Dequenne) is unrelentingly stubborn about receiving kindness, or food unsolicited. She has her dignity. A young person with so much burden on her shoulder and a heavy heart.

Things may be seemingly repetitive: again and again we see her crossing that traffic roadway, jumping into the bush trail; we hear the rustling leaves, the thumping of her footsteps; we watch her stopping by the hideout where she kept her rubber boots, changing her only good pair of working shoes; we follow her as she crawls through the wire fence loophole, arriving at the campers -- feels like a mindless routine. Yet, she's intensely single-minded on getting "a real job" (vs. moonlighting) and to have "a normal life", not to "fell into a rut". At one point, we can almost be happy for her to have "found a friend" in Riquet (Fabrizio Rongione), a waffle street van vendor. She actually was able to peacefully sleep that night. Only to wake up and report at work to be told she's again out of a job. A devastating blow. Out of desperation, she did something that most of us viewers may not be able to comprehend -- but what do we know of her travails, who are we to judge her action?

It was not easy for her to have done what she did -- she did hesitate and took the risk. She risked her newfound friendship -- she desperately needed "to have a job". In a way, she has lack tenderness, love and warmth for so long that she's numb to human kindness -- she needs to be thawed! One has to be patient with her, to give her time and see through her tough surface and rekindle her heart. Trust needs to be rebuilt for her to continue living and tackle difficulties afresh!

This is no Hollywood fare. Dialogs are few. No exploitative, explosive, abusive scenes. We're given the bare structure of the story, and Rosetta, plus the sparing few supporting characters, held the movie steadily intact.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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