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Sharp and blistering indictment of social and economic inequality: desperate times in Dublin
"Rosie" (2018 release from Ireland; 86 min.) brings the story of Rosie and her family: 4 kids ages 3 to 13, and her partner John Paul. As the movie opens, we hear in voice-over TV clips about the shortage of affordable living in Dublin, with lease rates skyrocketing. We then see Rosie and her 4 kids in a car, as Rosie calls around to various cheap hotels for a room, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Jean Paul is working as a dish washer. Just as the situation looks to be really bleak, Rosie manages to find a hotel room for one night. The whole family crashes in the hotel room, and from the looks of the hotel, they are not the only family staying there... At this point we are 10 min. into the movie but to tell you of the plot more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is directed by Irish director Paddy Breathnach. Here he brings the story of one fictional family whose lease was terminated by a landlord looking to sell and cash in on the red hot real estate market in Dublin. With a shortage of affordable housing, Rosie and her family are unable to find another place to rent, and now rely on government assistance to stay in cheap hotels, assuming they can find a vacancy. This is truly a family that is barely, but just barely, hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Along the way the family encounters social issues, such as the kids that go to school, where it is quickly noticed that something isn't quite right. At one point the school's head mistress asks Rosie point blank: "Are you living in your car?", to which Rosie with indignity responds "we are not homeless! we're just lost for a bit". As much of the film plays out in the car, Breathnach does a great job giving us a sense how difficult and cramped everything is. Sarah Greene as Rosie is nothing short of masterful as she conveys the frustration, anger, shame and love for her family. Please note that the acting performances are in full-blown Irish accents, and there were a number of conversational exchanges that went completely over my head.
"Rosie" premiered to great acclaim at last year's Toronto International Film Festival, yes almost a year ago. The movie popped up out of the blue at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Friday early evening performance turned out to be a private screening: I was literally the only one in the theater. Given the bleak nature of this movie (there is, literally and figuratively, not a ray of sunshine in this movie), I cannot imagine this can last more than a week in the theater. That said, there is a reason why this movie is currently rated 97% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. I found it a challenging movie, in the best possible way, and about as far away as possible from this summer's never-ending wave of super-hero movie, sequel, prequels, Disney re-imaginations, and on and on. "Rosie" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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