86 Mins(4 out of 5)
Reviewed by: Sam Hollis
Thanks to a strong cast of subtle performers and restrained writing, Rosie balances moments of warmth and distress. Rosie (Sarah Greene) shows cracks but never breaks, painting the role of parenthood in an authentic and, in the end, immensely effective way.
Rosie Davis, her husband John Paul (Moe Dunford), and their four children are thrust into homelessness when their landlord decides to sell their north Dublin rental. For several days and nights, Rosie desperately searches for a roof while John Paul works in a restaurant kitchen.
The intrigue of Rosie lies in its unique approach to homelessness. The family’s woes are not the result of any archetypical mistake or laziness, but of pure happenstance. Screenwriter Roddy Doyle finds power in the day-to-day – the cycle of a mother simply trying. It’s a take grounded in authenticity. As Rosie sits in her car, calling hotels and social services until the well runs dry, she also worries about keeping up appearances and getting the kids to school on time.
Greene stands as the film’s biggest asset. It relies on her to maintain the realism intended in the script, and she never falters through its brief runtime. Her performance takes a story that may appear bleak at face value and injects it with heart. We see the mechanics of her mind at work, equally concerned with the strenuous task of finding a room and picking up Peachy, her young daughter’s beloved toy rabbit. We see Greene cage Rosie’s heartache for the benefit of her kids, a sentiment many parents will connect to.
Doyle’s resonant script plays well with Paddy Breathnach’s direction, which is never stagnant but never manic. The imagery is fittingly dreary, hinting to the wider economic problems in Ireland that led this ordinary family to homelessness. It leaves room for the family dynamic to shine, and although brief, the film’s runtime tells a complete story with breathing room. Moments of laughter, tears, and fear ring true, reminding us of the true value of family.