Thursday, March 18, 2021

Parentage, the past and the present collide in Christine Molloy & Joe Lawlor's beautifully creepy ROSE PLAYS JULIE

Seemingly -- and if so, quite appropriately -- made for the Me Too generation, ROSE PLAYS JULIE (don't expect anything nearly as ludicrously "meta" as Kate Plays Christine) details an adoptee's learning the identity of her birth mother and the consequences -- initially unintentional and then quite intentional -- of her acting upon that information. 

The movie's plot, such as it is, is not particularly complicated and is handled in pretty straight-ahead fashion. Therefore, telling you too much about it would let loose the few spoilers present. 

Consequently, TrustMovies will concentrate on filmmaking style and performances rather than on content. As written and directed by the filmmaking team of Christine Molloy (shown far left) and Joe Lawlor (left), the movie has a remarkably precise, controlled and composed look that utterly belies (and yet, in its odd way, begins to add to) the tale's creepy and increasingly fraught story line.

Rose (Ann Skelly, below) is a veterinary student whose class is currently studying the euthanasia process, of which we see several examples during the film (a couple via instructor, and another, later in the film, done quickly via non-professional, in an emergency). 

Rose's real interest, however, is in making contact with that birth mother Ellen (played by Orla Brady, below), about whom she already knows rather a lot. Once that contact is made -- initially haltingly and rather creepily -- pertinent information arrives almost too fast and furiously.

The film's third wheel, a fellow of great interest to both women, is played by the fine and oft-seen Irish actor Aidan Gillen (below), who proves to be everything needed to fit the confines of the story -- which turns out to be just a little too convenient and predictable, particularly during its second half. In terms of events, the movie, once past the connection made by the two women, treads a pretty obvious path.

On the plus side are Rose Plays Julie's very good visuals (color- and composition-wise, it's a consistent pleasure to view), as well as its fascination with various animals. Even if most of these are dying, dead or about to be, the end credits assure us that "no animals were harmed" in the course of the filmmaking.

The fact that mother Ellen happens to be a working actress (she's shown below in period costume for one of her films) adds a bit to the movie's content and visual interest. Otherwise, this 100-minute movie moves along without ever losing our interest, thanks for those visuals and the excellent performances by the three leads -- even if  some of you out there will be well ahead of things in terms of plot development and surprises.

From Film Movement, the movie premieres via Virtual Cinema, VOD and Digital this Friday, March 19. Click here then scroll down for further information and to see all currently scheduled virtual screening playdates, cities and theaters.

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