"Rosie" Review: Portrait of a Working Class Hero

Fans of Ken Loach and the Dardenne brothers shouldn’t miss Paddy Breathnach’s Rosie. This moving portrait of working class life is kitchen sink realism without the sink. The film stars Penny Dreadful’s Sarah Greene as Rosie Davis. She is a mother of four desperately trying to find her kids a home. She struggles daily, schlepping the kids from hotel to school, and searches for lodging both temporary and permanent to manage their homelessness. However, with few options in their reach and fewer resources to support them, Rosie’s family embodies a familiar struggle. Rosie puts a human face on the ordinary families who suffer in the present housing crisis. For anyone who has ever worked hard and worried about how to pay for tomorrow, Rosie hits a nerve.

Roddy’s Return

Rosie comes to the screen as an event of sorts despite the dire subject matter. It’s the first screenplay in nearly two decades from Roddy Doyle. 18 years after When Brendan Met Trudy and nearly 30 years after his masterful The Commitments, Doyle is back in his element. (We’ll forgive him for all those novels in between!) Rosie could easily be the child of two Dublin scenesters who saw their lives explode on screen in The Commitments. But where The Commitments found hope and optimism within the life-affirming pulse of soul music and rock-n-roll, Rosie sees its young Dubliner scrape desperately for a lifeline. Doyle’s scripts capture the hope, or lack thereof, that divides these two generations.

There is barely a note of rock to be heard in Rosie. The young woman, barely 30 years old, hardly finds a moment of respite. She spends each day calling numbers on a list of hotels that offer rooms paid for by Dublin city council. Rosie and her kids spend their lives on standby. The film captures the grating uncertainty of homelessness as their odds for securing shelter dwindle with each hour. Each day sees them clear house for paying guests. Rosie can’t secure long-term shelter for her family when concerns for the day-by-bay consume her.

A Working Class Hero

But where musical beats fuel The Commitments, Rosie’s heartbeat drives this film. Breathnach, who showed such a wonderfully observant hand at depicting the margins in the 2015 Oscar-shortlisted Viva with its portrait of Cuba’s gay community, injects Rosie with the same vitality that made his queer Cuban drama so strong. While Rosie evokes the working class spirit of Ken Loach, it isn’t “old man’s cinema.” (I literally have a Pavlovian reflex and yawn whenever I hear or read the name “Ken Loach.”) Instead, Rosie pulses with the restlessness of its protagonist’s generation. The film hones in close on Greene, invading her privacy and getting up in her face, as it observes hard-working families who can’t afford homes. The film positions Rosie as a working class hero simply for her indefatigable devotion to provide her kids a functional present and a hopeful future.

Greene carries virtually every frame of the film. She repeats the same lines over and over as Rosie searches for shelter. Rosie knows the drill, but Greene’s performance conveys both the crushing monotony and the element of performance it involves. Each call hinges on Rosie’s pleasant demeanour and her willingness to put on a brave face that hides her struggles. Greene is remarkably good. She finds excellent screen partners not only in Moe Dunford as Rosie’s spouse John Paul, but also in the quartet of young performers who play her children. The film authentically drops audiences into one family’s everyday struggle and leaves us waiting in suspenseful hope for their survival

Source: Rosie Review: Portrait of a Working Class Hero – That Shelf

Kermode and Mayo Review: "The Lighthouse"

Kermode and Mayo Review

Willem Dafoe talks The Lighthouse.

Plus film reviews including Clint Eastwood’s drama Richard Jewell, Daniel Kaluuya in Queen and Slim, and Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood.

Mark and Simon chat through all the films worth seeing in UK cinemas in the UK Box Office Top Ten, we tell you the best and worst films on TV next week and recommend a home entertainment purchase in DVD of the Week.

00.19.27 Box Office Top 10
00.39.16 Willem Dafoe Interview
00.57.46 The Lighthouse
01.11.14 Richard Jewell
01.17.40 Queen and Slim
01.27.34 The Rhythm Section
01.33.12 A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood

Ordinary Love review – Manville and Neeson excel in joyous heartbreaker

Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson are note-perfect in Owen McCafferty’s profoundly moving drama

There’s nothing ordinary about this deeply moving, frequently funny and piercingly insightful drama from Belfast playwright Owen McCafferty, making his screenwriting feature debut. On the surface it’s a tale of a middle-aged couple facing up to a diagnosis of breast cancer, and a year of medical intervention. Yet beyond this immediate diagnosis is something far more rich and compelling – a story of everyday love between two people living in the shadow of grief, facing an uncertain future, both together and apart.

Directed with wit, subtlety and great emotional honesty by Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn (the co-directors of 2012’s brilliantly life-affirming Good Vibrations), it’s a singular story with universal appeal – striking a very personal chord with some viewers while finding common ground with the widest possible audience. I’ve seen it three times so far, and found it more joyous, heart-breaking and ultimately uplifting with each subsequent viewing.

Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson are note-perfect as Joan and Tom, a couple living in Northern Ireland for whom gentle bickering has become a sign of affection – a way of saying “I love you” without having to use those often awkward words. At Joan’s apparent insistence, the pair have taken up walking, striding along a waterside prom to a designated tree and back – an attempt to stave off the inevitable aches and pains of ageing. “How does the Fitbit know you’re walking?” Tom asks his ever-so-slightly exasperated wife, before insisting that the exercise “allows me to have a beer” despite her health-conscious protestations to the contrary.

When Joan feels a lump in her breast, her husband tries to reassure her that it’s “nothing”, even after initial investigations raise cause for concern. “We’ll do whatever has to be done, the two of us,” says Tom, asserting that “there isn’t a moment I won’t be with you”. Yet that togetherness will be sorely tested by a process that necessarily separates patients from their loved ones, frequently leaving Tom stewing in impersonal waiting rooms while Joan undergoes examination and surgery. “I’m glad our Debbie isn’t here to go through this,” says Joan, referring to the lost daughter whose presence still feels real, highlighting divisions between the couple’s different ways of dealing (or not dealing) with the current crisis.

Anyone with experience of a similar situation will recognise the pinpoint accuracy with which Ordinary Love depicts Joan’s journey through cancer care, right down to such tiny details as the weirdly jarring snapping sound of the mechanised syringe used to take a biopsy. Equally on the money is the depiction of the petty distractions that can accompany life-changing hospital visits – the moment of panic Joan feels when she’s called for her test results just as Tom has disappeared off to the toilet; a tense exchange conducted sotto voce while queuing to pay for the car parking.

It’s that evocation of the intangible interface between the mundane and the monumental that lends Ordinary Love such universal appeal – the sense of down-to-earth characters quietly wrestling with the cosmic mysteries of life and death, love and grief, with a mixture of sorrow and laughter. Whether it’s a tragicomic graveside musing about the metaphysics of the afterlife, or an absurdist argument about three being closer to five than one on a sliding scale of probability (apparently drawn verbatim from an exchange between McCafferty and his wife Peggy), Ordinary Love brilliantly captures that strange sense of everything and nothing happening simultaneously – to everyone.

Crucially, although the narrative is bookended with images of Tom and Joan together, the emotional separation they experience during Joan’s treatment is accompanied by an unexpected bonding with others who are going through the same thing – the “Normal People” of the script’s original title. One of Debbie’s old teachers, formerly dismissed as “arrogant”, becomes a confidante, a fellow patient with whom Joan can laugh about the indignities of chemo-induced hair loss. Meanwhile Tom (who is “always Tom”) makes a waiting-room connection that proves quietly groundbreaking, causing a subtle change that cuts to the heart of the film’s wider purpose.

With cinematographer Piers McGrail and editor Nick Emerson, Leyburn and Barros D’Sa create a cinematic space that combines the intimate domestic stillness of Michael Haneke’s Amour with an almost Kubrickian sense of alienating architecture during the accelerating hospital scenes. A beautiful ambient score by David Holmes and Brian Irvine proves as quietly powerful and moving as the film itself, like a randomly generated cellular lullaby.

As for the performances, they are simply flawless, with particular plaudits to Manville, for whom awards are surely due. A wordless closeup of her face as Joan undergoes breast imaging will stay with me forever – in her eyes, we see fear, anxiety and a hint of loneliness, mixed with a strange cocktail of acceptance and defiance, and something that still manages to look like love.

: Ordinary Love review – Manville and Neeson excel in joyous heartbreaker | Film | The Guardian

The fears of a ‘Downton’ super fan, and the dangers of exhuming pop culture memories – The Boston Globe

Christopher Muther loves all things “Downton.” Could the movie version of a favorite show mess it all up?

We have a hard time letting go of things we love.

Be it a treasured trinket, an old love letter, or maybe a dead pet’s ashes in a shoebox under the bed — although hopefully not that. But when it comes to television characters, we really can’t let go.

When they’re not getting rebooted on the small screen, à la “Will & Grace,” “Roseanne,” or “Gilmore Girls,” they’re turning up at the cinema. This is when we hold our breath. Legacy and love are at stake.

Was it a good idea to make a second “Sex and the City” movie, even with the added bonus of Liza Minnelli singing “Single Ladies”? Absolutely not. Did the actors from “Star Trek,” plus William Shatner’s toupee, need to come back to save the whales 20 years after the original series debuted? Nope. Did we need an “Entourage” movie? That’s a hard no. We didn’t need “Entourage” in any form.

I invested myself deeply in 52 episodes of the upstairs-downstairs drama of an English family trying to hang on to a monolithic castle and its evaporating aristocratic lifestyle. The series was a gift that we delicately and eagerly opened layer after layer, year after year, until we were emotionally satisfied and grateful with what series creator Julian Fellowes and international treasure Maggie Smith had bequeathed us.

I was terrified to find out whether the “Downton” movie would be the gift that kept on giving, or whether I would need to hang on to the emotional receipt and ask for my cherished memories back. I love all things “Downton,” and I didn’t want those memories sullied.

Guess who cried with joy when Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) proposed to Lady Mary Crawley (Michelle Dockery)? This guy, that’s who. Who dropped his Doritos with quaking hands and a quivering lip when Lady Edith Crawley (Laura Carmichael) was left at the altar? Yes, that was me as well. I’ve traveled to the locations in England where the show was filmed, and I have come up with excuses to interview the actors and the show’s costume designer. The technical term for this type of behavior is shameless.

The news of a “Downton Abbey” movie stirred equal parts terror and elation in my chitterlings. Everyone appeared destined to live happily ever after when the series wrapped. I did not want to see Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) tossed back in prison or listen to patriarch Robert Crawley (Hugh Bonneville) sputter more outdated guff when Mary and Tom Branson (Allen Leech) attempt to save the estate.

“Please!” I thought. “Leave them be.” If we’ve learned anything from years of television and movies, it’s that exhuming the dead can only lead to zombies, or, even worse, an “Entourage” movie.

Even with my deep trepidation, there was no question that I would see the movie. I managed to squeeze myself into an early screening (again, shameless), and bit my lip as John Lunn’s now-iconic “Downton” theme began.

Here’s the good news about the movie. The legacy remains intact. Even better, Paul Giamatti does not make a guest appearance. With few exceptions, there is nothing too damning or outrageous that happens to our beloved characters. I’m not going to reveal those exceptions because I operate under a strict no-spoilers policy. The film is primarily a self-contained caper surrounding a visit from King George V and Queen Mary. But that visit is a thin excuse to launch the action, both among the Crawleys and the servants.

Truth be told, I could have sat for two hours and watched Smith’s Violet Crawley volley pointed witticisms while wagging her chin at Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton), who is now known as Lady Merton. The chemistry between the two actresses is as dynamic as it was during the series.

The movie feels like one of the cherished Christmas episodes, but longer. It’s a tidy package with a few character development tendrils unfurling with the promise of new stories, new romance, and new changes.

But wait. Does this mean a second “Downton” movie is on the horizon?

Fellowes, “Downton” producer Gareth Neame, and three actors from the show/movie were at the screening I attended. After the movie there was a Q & A session where the question of a sequel was asked. Fellowes shrugged and grinned, Neame said it would depend on how this movie did at the box office, and Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes) and Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore) both strongly indicated that they were onboard for a second film.

Immediately, I began to fret again about my “Downton” family and said a silent prayer. “Please, no matter how many of these movies you make, just let Edith be happy and keep the Dowager Countess alive as long as possible.”

Source: The fears of a ‘Downton’ super fan, and the dangers of exhuming pop culture memories – The Boston Globe