Rose Plays Julie

Directed by Christine Molloy, Joe Lawlor
Film Movement
2019
100 Minutes
Ireland, United Kingdom
English
Thriller, Drama
TV-MA

In virtual cinemas and on demand March 19th!

Rose (Ann Skelly) is at university studying veterinary science. An only child, she has enjoyed a loving relationship with her adoptive parents. However, for as long as Rose can remember she has wanted to know who her biological parents are and the facts of her true identity. After years trying to trace her birth mother, Rose now has a name and a number. All she has to do is pick up the phone and call. When she does it quickly becomes clear that her birth mother has no wish to have any contact. Rose is shattered. A renewed and deepened sense of rejection compels her to keep going. Rose travels from Dublin to London in an effort to confront her birth mother, Ellen (Orla Brady).

Ellen is deeply disturbed when Rose turns up unannounced. The very existence of this young woman threatens the stability of the new life Ellen has painstakingly put together. But Rose proves very tenacious and Ellen is forced to reveal a secret she has kept hidden for over 20 years. This shocking revelation forces Rose to accept the violent nature of how she came into existence.

Rose believes she has little to lose but much to gain when she sets out to confront her biological father, Peter (Aidan Gillen). What Rose cannot possibly foresee is that she is on a collision course that will prove both violent and unsettling – dark forces gather and threaten to destroy her already fragile sense of her own identity.

Director & Cast

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Trailer

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Reviews

  • "[T]here is no doubt about the chillingly accumulated potency and force of this movie, or the quality of the performances. It is a really powerful film and Brady’s final dialogue scene exerts a lethal grip."
    Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
  • "...powerful.... Ann Skelly is magnificently perplexing as Rose/Julie."
    Jonathan Romney, Film Comment
  • "Christine Malloy and Joe Lawlor’s film is one of the best screen depictions of the internal struggle of being adopted, perfectly realising a character’s permanent sense of existential displacement, and constant worries that she’s not living the life she was intended for. I was absolutely floored by this film...."
    Alistair Ryder, Film Inquiry
  • "Its emotional dilemmas, depictions of trauma, revenge and fractured family ties are handled with such skill and sense of purpose, it is truly exemplary film-making."
    Martyn Conterio, CineVue
  • "Dark and involving, this slow-burn Irish drama dives into a remarkably involving situation that encompasses a variety of taboo themes...."
    Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall
  • "The tenuousness of the power that Rose and Ellen achieve lingers after the close of the film."
    Cathy Butler, Film Ireland Magazine
  • "Molloy and Lawlor approach the psychological thriller in a pleasingly unique and unsettling fashion. This is hypnotic, thrilling, deeply confident filmmaking."
    Jamie Dunn, The Skinny
  • "Rose Plays Julie is... an expertly drawn thriller, one limned through a slippery relationship between two women working out whether they can trust each other; powerful instances of drone music; shots of eerily empty spaces of modernity like concrete corridors, escalators and golf courses; and a definitionally sleazy performance by Aidan Gillen...."
    So Mayer, Sight and Sound
  • "Layering its fairly straightforward story of an adopted Irish girl who tracks down her birth mother with immersive visual and aural motifs, it plays more like modern operatic tragedy."
    Nikki Baughan, Screen International
  • "...a powerful journey into the heart of darkness...."
    Jared Mobarak, The Film Stage
  • "Rose Plays Julie is led by two absolutely outstanding performances."
    Sean Fallon, Film Inquiry