Film Review: Rose Plays Julie

Rose as Julie

Humans are naturally curious. Whilst this inquisitiveness often fades as we get older, the impulse to discover our roots remains strong. Whether this is in the forlorn hope that despite an entirely unremarkable life we might have colourful and/or famous ancestors or simply an attempt to understand why we are the person we’ve become. For those who were adopted, this need is often too strong to ignore. In Rose Plays Julie, the answers are unexpected.

Rose (Ann Skelly) is a rather standoffish veterinary student who doesn’t really fit in with her peers. As an only child she’s had a loving relationship with her adopted family, but after the death of her mother she’s more determined than ever to discover who her birth parents are. To understand how they could ‘give her up’. After years of searching, Rose now has a name and number, but after tracking down her biological mother Ellen (Orla Brady) she receives some rather upsetting news.

There will be few better films in cinemas this year than Rose Plays Julie. It’s brilliantly written and masterfully directed by Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy. The whole tone of incongruent eeriness is mesmerising. Ann Skelly is an absolute revelation. Her performance is so nuanced and understated, with silences and looks as powerful as the dialogue itself. Rose Plays Julie is a breathtakingly blunt drama which hits all the right notes.

Rose Plays Julie is out in cinemas from 17 September.

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