Friday, March 19, 2021

Rose Plays Julie Review: A Psychological Drama Confronting Difficult Issues

Ann Skelly	...	Rose / Daughter Orla Brady	Orla Brady	...	Ellen / mother Aidan Gillen	Aidan Gillen	...	Peter / father Annabell Rickerby	Annabell Rickerby	...	Molly Catherine Walker	Catherine Walker	...	Teresa Joanne Crawford	Joanne Crawford	...	Valerie Alan Howley	Alan Howley	...	Dr. Langan Sadie Soverall	Sadie Soverall	...	Eva

Release date: March 19, 2021 (Virtual Cinema)
Running time: 101 minutes
Ann Skelly, Orla Brady, Aidan Gillen, Annabell Rickerby, Catherine Walker, Joanne Crawford, Alan Howley, Sadie Soverall
Written and Directed by: Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor

Rose (Ann Skelly) is at university studying veterinary science. An only child, she has enjoyed a loving relationship with her adoptive parents. However, for as long as Rose can remember she has wanted to know who her biological parents are and the facts of her true identity. After years trying to trace her birth mother, Rose now has a name and a number. All she has to do is pick up the phone and call. When she does it quickly becomes clear that her birth mother has no wish to have any contact. Rose is shattered. A renewed and deepened sense of rejection compels her to keep going. Rose travels from Dublin to London in an effort to confront her birth mother, Ellen (Orla Brady).

Julien Benoiton	...	Director Lily Brand	Lily Brand	...	Girl in Accident Esosa Ighodaro	Esosa Ighodaro	...	Archaeologist Derry Lawlor	Derry Lawlor	...	Blind Man Molly Rose Lawlor	Molly Rose Lawlor	...	Oldest Child Jack McEvoy	Jack McEvoy	...	Young Man Lochlann O'MearĂ¡in	Lochlann O'MearĂ¡in	...	Farmhand Sarah Jane Scott	Sarah Jane Scott	...	Hotel Receptionist Anna Czarska	Anna Czarska	...	Museum Employee (uncredited)
Rose Plays Julie has an interesting, mysterious start.  You don't know much of what is going on but you can tell that there is something powerful brewing.  The film has a deliberate, strong tone throughout from the dark color palette, to the strong camera angles, and the grandiose soundtrack.  And this is only helped along by the story, which explores some heavy themes.  Rose goes through a lot in her quest to find her birth father, and learns more than she bargained for.  And all of this affects Rose's life as the sins of her father begin to influence her own observations.

Ann Skelly handles both the difficult subject matter and the difficulty of portraying Rose perfectly.  Her character can sometimes seem aloof and distracted, but I imagine that is by design.  Her persona goes through many changes as she learns more and more about her conception and birth, and this causes her to deal with inner turmoil that Skelly portrays perfectly.  Brady as the mother likewise goes through emotional growth throughout the film, as she is forced to confront the child that she wrote off long ago. And Gillen is likewise fantastic, with his characteristic charm masking a darker side.  And although I really enjoyed their performances, sometimes Rose can be slightly off putting and some of the characters go through drastic character changes at the drop of a hat.  But overall, this psychological character drama is fueled by its complex characters and the great acting behind them. 

The story of Rose Plays Julie has lots of build up and plenty of tension.  As Rose learns more and more about her past, she is drawn deeper into the quest to find her father.  And it is often unclear what she is going to do when she finds him, leading to an additional air of mystery.  But the themes that she is forced to confront are difficult ones and the importance of confronting them make this film all the more compelling.  Rose Plays Julie rails against silence and the idea that time heals all wounds.  The film shows that the sins of the past cannot be wiped away with good behavior or ignorance; that those actions have real consequences that can affect individuals and alter lives.  

Rose Plays Julie is a powerful psychological drama with a deliberate pace and strong characters confronting some timely, dark, and important themes.

Watch it.

Directed by  Joe Lawlor	 Christine Molloy	Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Joe Lawlor	 Christine Molloy    Produced by  David Collins	...	producer Cathleen Dore	...	line producer Duncan Western	...	executive producer Eoin O'Faolain	...	co-producer Christine Molloy	...	producer Joe Lawlor	...	producer

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Rose Plays Julie is playing in virtual cinemas across the country.  For more information and for showtimes click here.

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