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Storyline (warning: spoilers)
Other films have bigger budgets and more glamorous stars, some even take home more awards. But few if any can quietly move you as much as Rosie. A very fine socially conscious drama in the classic Irish tradition, Rosie tells a sobering tale that’s “based on too many true stories,” the narrative of a mutually supportive family made homeless through no fault of its own.
Though the outlines are indeed familiar, several factors make Rosie rise above the crowd, including uniformly excellent acting and the faultless work of top Irish director Paddy Breathnath (I Went Down, the Cuba-set Viva)
But the key player here is celebrated Booker Prize-winning Irish writer Roddy Doyle, whose previous screenplays became memorable films like The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van. Doyle wrote Rosie after hearing a radio news report about how Dublin’s acute shortage of rental properties means even people with steady jobs have difficulty finding places to live. Unlike other writers who’ve taken on stories like this, Doyle has the gift of creating characters in extreme situations without hitting you over the head with their plight.
Made with a restraint that enhances the heartbreaking nature of its narrative, Rosie is also fortunate in having top-of-the-line Irish actress Sarah Greene, who is wrenchingly involving as a character teetering on the edge of complete desperation. “We’re not homeless, we’re just lost,” she says movingly at one point, still in shock. “We lost our keys, that’s what it feels like.”
What keeps Rosie going, and what keeps us in the film, is her extraordinary resilience as a character and the understated but powerful connection we see and feel among the family members. That bond doesn’t solve all problems, not even close, but experiencing it is, as Rosie herself would say, just grand.