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 that 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 a tragic dance of doom. There is 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 the present-day 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 man who raped her mother and sired this traumatized child-woman who doesn't know if she is Rose, Julie or someone else. Now the man, artfully underplayed by Aidan Gillen, is hitting on his 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. Directed by Joe Lawlor & Christine Molloy, Rose Plays Julie gets 2 and a half stars.
Image source: youtube/Moviecoverage