Rosie, the latest feature from Irish filmmaker Paddy Breathnach, written by acclaimed writer and novelist Roddy Doyle (The Commitments), follows a family in Dublin and their struggle to find somewhere to stay after their landlord sells their rented home. Moving from one hotel to the next, the titular protagonist (Sarah Greene) and her husband John Paul (Moe Dunford) try and maintain a normal family life while protecting their young children from the harsh reality of their situation. The picture is Cathy Come Home for a modern generation, a lovingly created drama that highlights issues of homelessness whilst celebrating the enduring nature of the familial bond.
Told over a short, 36-hour period, the film is entirely character-driven, revolving around the emotional strain faced by the family’s matriarch as she’s left to deal with the fallout of their situation while her husband is at work. Thanks to a consistently stunning and grounded performance by Greene, we’re brought into the Davises’ world vicariously to experience the obstacles and subsequent emotions right alongside them. Likewise, Greene demonstrates a real, tangible bond with the children in the movie which makes for genuinely hilarious, heart-warming and upsetting moments. The younger cast members, too, are deserving of praise for their performances. It’s rare we see performers this age on the same level as the adults.
Due to its focus on character, the film is at its best during the smaller moments: getting the children ready for school, trying to stop fighting in the back of the car or making sure the stuffed animal friends are all present and accounted for. As the story continues and more narrative threads are added, the greater impact on the other family members is revealed, showing the broader implications of their predicament in a manner that is grounded in a relatable way.
Not all plotlines are handled as well as others, though. Some motifs that are frequently highlighted never go anywhere, with others seemingly introduced as a means to write away easy solutions. Although these missteps don’t detract from the overall impact, it would’ve been nice to see where they’d lead.
Rosie may be a small and contained feature, but it’s one that’s had a lot of heart poured into it, resulting in an authentic family drama that marks another win for its director and writer.
Rosie is released in select cinemas on 8th March 2019.
Watch the trailer for Rosie here: