Rosie (2018) ***

March 4th, 2019
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Paddy Breathnach; Cast: Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford, Ellie O’Halloran, Ruby Dunne, Darragh McKenzie, Molly McCann, Pom Boyd; ROE 2018, 86 min.

There’s clearly a housing crisis in Ireland. Paddy Breathnach (Viva) and writer Roddy Doyle (The Van) low-key affair drama sees a family of six literally living out of their car, after their rented home was sold by their landlord. All Dublin council can do is provide a list of emergency shelters, which are usually booked out.

Rosie (Greene), the titular heroine and her partner John Paul Brady (Dunford) have put their belonging with friends and relatives, stuffing their car with the bare necessities along with four children. The resulting tale unfolds over sixteen hours, but seems much longer: Rosie trying to organise the kids, whilst John Paul washes dishes in a posh restaurant. Spending a fortune on the mobile, phoning the hotels and hostels on her list, Rosie becomes a picture of insouciance, even though every ‘No vacancy’ brings them nearer to a night spent in a parking lot.

The children take the ordeal very differently: four-year old Madison (McCann) is only concerned with Peachie, the rabbit – as long as she can cuddle up to him, the world is fine. Alfie (McKenzie) is six and sees everything as an adventure, he is often uncomfortable, but one can imagine him putting up the same resistance to compliance in a household under a roof. The two eldest, eight-year old Millie (Dunne) and her sister Kayleigh (O’Halloran) suffer the most, while Kayleigh leaves school and stays with her old neighbours, the panicky parents spending most of the day trying to track her down, and nearly losing the father’s job. Rosie’s mother (Boyd) owns a house large enough to house her daughter’s family but there are issues between them: Rosie claims to have been sexually molested by her now deceased father, and her mother wants her to recant before letting the family into the house. Rosie puts pride before comfort, and with another day over the chances of finding accommodation drastically diminish.

With a story like Rosie, it’s difficult to imagine how Dublin gets to be called the ‘Boom Town’ of Europe. Housing stock is either rare, or the price range outside the budget of normal families. Breathnach shows the struggle of a ordinary folk, caused by no-one in particular, but causing mass despair– without much hope for the future. DoP Cathal Watters underlines the narrative with a handheld camera, catching the family’s perpetual motion. Low on storyline and budget, echoing its theme, Rosie is still a watchable drama. AS





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