Rose Plays Julie (2020) is a quiet, unassuming gem that follows a young Veterinary student named Rose (Ann Skelly) who seeks out her birth mother, an actress called Ellen (Orla Brady) with the film following the subsequent fallout as a result.
Set in Ireland, this film begins with a slow, meditative pace which at times can feel uncertain of its trajectory. As the film progresses, however, the need to maintain your attention is proven entirely worth it. The plot takes turns that are rarely expected which is more than refreshing in the current film industry climate, which can sometimes feel hellbent on only exhibiting remakes of well known classics. To see a film that is capable of taking turns we don’t expect, is really quite special, and honestly very rare.
In an effort to give absolutely nothing away, as it is this intrigue that ultimately makes the film so compelling, the following is prevalent throughout the film. Skelly is captivating in the lead role. Her ability to play such a complex character so convincingly is extremely commendable. Equally, the subtlety that Brady brings to Ellen is one that roots the story in such a strong sense of humanity which is then carried throughout the film. Special mention should be given to Aidan Gillan who plays Peter. In an effort not to spoil the story, what he brings to the film is something which feels incredibly unique. He adds genuine humanity to a man who may otherwise be void of any. A character who could so easily be dismissed by the filmmakers as being nothing other than a monster. However, through gentle scenes of dialogue, and a whole amount of nuance, they have achieved something that might not have felt previously possible. A certain degree of empathy can almost be felt towards him. This ability to achieve such complex character and emotion is worth considerable praise.
Ultimately, this film is a gentle, compelling story that treats its characters with the utmost compassion and dignity. The subject matter is treated only with respect, a feat given how very controversial and difficult it is to navigate. To say that this film is enjoyable would be wrong, given what it is about, but it is a film that will captivate your attention and leave you with a profound feeling of understanding. That in itself, makes it worth the watch.
AMPLIFY! Film Festival is running until the 22nd November 2020, more information about ticketing and the various events can be found here.