Unsettling social drama / psychological thriller
- Rose Plays Julie review by PD
This one begins as a social drama before revealing itself as psychological revenge-thriller - but for me the former (based on an the adoptee's right versus the right of the birth parent) is rather overpowered by the latter, and whilst the film is strong enough in performance and direction to survive the direction of events, much of the second half still feels to me like an intrusion on a better story.
At first, Rose's clumsy attempts to connect with her birth parent meets with resistance. But Rose is persistent in utilizing unethical methods that border on stalking to gain access. Indeed, we are concerned about Rose's mental state: Rose's trance-like stare revealing an internal pain that remains obvious even when she smiles. The film might have presented an intriguing dilemma—and a daring unsympathetic portrait of adoptees—should a child return to torment the birth parent? For adoption remains contentious - advocating for adoptees' right to confront their past, heritage, and history continues to put many at odds with family, friends, colleagues, etc; here we seem to be invited (generally speaking) to take Rose's side, and I found myself wondering whether the directors of the film are adopted or have adopted. As a thriller, however, the film is much less forceful, the story’s direction becoming increasingly predictable as it goes on, especially once Rosie's mother takes centre-stage. Nevertheless, taken as a whole, a highly watchable and distinctly unsettling piece.
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- Rose Plays Julie review by GI
This is a powerful drama about trauma and identity, it has an eerie feel as it moves from melodrama to thriller. At first this appears to be a film about loneliness and past regrets as it follows Julie (Ann Skelly), a young veterinary student who has discovered she is adopted. She has found her birth mother is Ellen (Oral Brady), a successful TV actor, but Ellen instinctively rebuffs Julie eventually revealing that there's a dark reason for this. But Julie is persistent forcing Ellen to confront her painful past. Julie finally learns who her real father is and tracks him down by pretending to be Julie (her birth name). Eventually this bringing the past back into the present forcing all of them to confront their relationship with each other. The film nicely balances thriller with real world drama in an atmospheric film that draws you in. A suspense film that deals with some very real issues and it's very good indeed.
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