Roddy Doyle is best known for writing “The Commitments,” a comedy-drama with a toe tapping score. His film,“Rosie,” on VOD this week, is a much different movie. It won’t make anyone hum “Mustang Sally” on the way out of the theatre but should inspire conversation about homelessness.
Sarah Greene is Rosie, mother of four, partner to restaurant cook John Paul (Moe Dunford). The happy north Dublin family lived in a rented home until the landlord sold the house leaving them stranded. Hopscotching from one hotel to another, they desperately search for new accommodation while trying to camouflage their circumstances from family, friends and their children’s teachers. Increased rents and well-meaning but Kafkaesque assistance bureaucracy leave this family on the edge of having to live in their car.
“Rosie” is a cautionary tale. A gritty, empathic and timely look at the challenges families face when life takes an unexpected left turn. Doyle’s script (his first original screenplay in over 18 years) never sensationalizes the situation or asks for pity, it simply compassionately presents one family’s story of woe.
Director Paddy Breathnach’s background in documentary film lends “Rosie” a neo-realist feel that provides an up-close-and-personal portrait of growing desperation. Long, intimate takes bring an uninterrupted sense of the tragedy affecting the family, a feeling that builds throughout the film’s scant 85 minute running time. Top its benefit it is definitely not a feel-good movie. Doyle and Breathnach offer up no easy answers to Rosie’s plight, just pure naturalistic drama with a social consciousness.