Rose Plays Julie
Ann Skelly, Orla Brady, Aidan Gillen
Directors Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, also known as Desperate Optimists, have spent years making immersive and exploratory cinema (Helen, Mister John, Further Beyond and ICO-released Civic Life) and their latest, slow-burn thriller Rose Plays Julie, has been hailed their best yet.
While studying veterinary science at university in Dublin, Rose (Ann Skelly) decides to contact Ellen (Orla Brady), the birth mother who gave her up for adoption. Ellen, now a successful actress in London, is initially reluctant to meet. Eventually, Rose’s tenacity pays off – but the secrets revealed to her put her on a violent and unsettling collision course with her own fragile sense of identity.
Immaculately produced and incredibly atmospheric, Rose Plays Julie generates a sense of eerie, uncanny dread through cool, restrained performances and a claustrophobic soundtrack. Skelly and Brady are both exacting and measured in their delivery, as the film takes us through longing and revenge to arrive at the dark places of power and its abuses. This is frank, immersive and decidedly feminist filmmaking.