Rose Plays Julie Intriguing But Not Satisfying

Rose  Plays Julie

Starring  Ann Skelly as Rose,Orla Brady as Ellen,Aidan Gillen as Peter

Directed by  Joe Lawlor & Christine Molloy

Rating: ** ½ 

This is a classic epic tale here of a daughter’s search for her  missing  mother and her  revenge on  the man who wronged  both of them, told in a tone  that is  the  opposite  of  epic, whatever that may be…matter-of-fact, perhaps?While the undercurrents are inflammatory and  passionate the surface of this  strikingly shot revenge drama is deceptively calm and placid.

 It is  like  a stream which is  turbulent under the tranquil surface. Rose Plays Julie is  about masks, which considering what  civilization is   going through is highly  appropriate .The strikingly beautiful  Irish actress  Ann Skelly who plays Rose/Julie is the pivot  on which the plot  performs  it tragic dance of  doom . There is really no salvation at  the end of  Rose’s search.A raging gloom grips the  heart  of  the  film, as if  the  co-directors believe  love  loyalty,  family and  goodness are  doomed in presentday context.

 What struck me is  Ms Skelly’s  character’s faith in transformative  miracles. As soon as she wears  a wig Rose  believes  she is  changed  into Julie, that  no one will recognize her true self, as she goes out there to hobnob with the the man who raped her mother and sired this traumatized child woman who doiesn’t know if  she is  Rose, Julie or  someone else. Now the man, artfully  underplayed  by  Aidan  Gillen, is   hitting on  his own daughter without knowing  who she is.

Like I said  the plot has an inherent melodrama  to it.Like  a  Barbara Cartland novella thrown into an English  environment where drama is  not the driving force. Masking and masquerading are what makes this  world go around.  The revenge  when it comes  is not as satisfying as  one  would think,probably  because the plot doesn’t allow Rose/ Julie to interact enough with her estranged mother(played with equivocal efficacy by  Orla  Brady).

 There is  a rigid austerity about the  emotions in  Rose Becomes Julie which is at once fascinating and  exasperating. Much like  life itself.

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