An authentic drama about Dubliners in the 21st century.


Sarah Greene (right)


Rosie Davis played by Sarah Greene is the remarkably resilient heroine of this drama centred on current housing problems in Ireland. Living in Dublin with her partner John Paul (Moe Dunford), Rosie is a mother of four, but the family find themselves homeless when their landlord of seven years decides to sell the house which has been their abode. Although John Paul works, they cannot afford to buy a property and are finding it impossible to get lodgings elsewhere other than last minute accommodation for a night or two at most. They do have government vouchers for temporary housing, but lack of available places drastically cuts across their value.


In effect, the family are living in their car and, having once delivered her two older daughters aged 13 and 8 to school, Rosie regularly spends much of each day calling up listed addresses in the hope of finding shelter for that very night. Rosie's story is sadly a representative one reflecting the current housing crisis: indeed the writer here is the celebrated Roddy Doyle who, not adapting a novel on this occasion, has chosen to pen a screen original designed to spotlight an alarming situation that is all too real.


The deep concern conveyed by Rosie is palpable and within its chosen limitations the film has been very well realised. The director is Paddy Breathnach and his players could not be more convincing. Aptly it is the splendid Sarah Greene who is screen centre, but Dunford is fully persuasive too, as are the youngsters involved (Ellie O'Halloran, Ruby Dunne, Darragh McKenzie and Molly McCann). Rosie is a work that portrays a situation rather than offering a plot, so it is sensible that it should come in at just under an hour and a half. On the positive side there is real warmth in this picture of family life (so much better than letting it become sentimental) and, if the piece is truthful enough to reject any resolution of the family's plight at the film's close, it does find dramatic elements to incorporate which have an impact of their own (one relates to events in the past, another is concerned with hostile comments in a school playground and the most dramatic revolves around  the sudden disappearance of one of the children).


It is hardly surprising that as a heartfelt work expressing social concern Rosie has prompted comparisons with Loach's celebrated Cathy Come Home. However, that underlines the problem faced by Rosie in that Loach's work gained a mass audience in 1966 through being available on television screens. To expect an audience to pay up at the cinema to see a film like this, a work that is the very reverse of escapist and hardly to be considered an entertainment, may well be wishful thinking. Yet Rosie deserves to be seen, and not only for the social issues on which it focusses but for its quality.




Cast: Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford, Ellie O'Halloran, Ruby Dunne, Darragh McKenzie, Molly McCann.


Dir Paddy Breathnach, Pro Juliette Bonass, Rory Gilmartin and Emma Norton, Screenplay Roddy Doyle, Ph Cathal Watters, Pro Des Mark Kelly, Ed Úna Ní Dhonghaíle, Music Stephen Rennicks, Costumes Louise Stanton.


Element Pictures-Element Pictures Distribution.
86 mins. Ireland. 2018. Rel: 8 March 2019. Cert. 12A.