Festival circles know Paddy Breathnach for directing and producing documentaries an fictional films about the Irish experience. Audiences can see that in Rosie, a personal look at the downturn of the volatile Irish economy. Rents are increasing, pushing families like Rosie Davis (Sarah Greene) and John Paul Brady’s (Moe Dunford) out. As a couple they have has to use Dublin city credit cards. They use those to pay for hotel rooms before finding something permanent. Rosie, a young mother, also has to deal with her four children’s’ separate issues. Two of them are old enough to keep secrets from a mother whose heavy sufferings they can’t understand yet. There are a lot of close-ups of these characters’ faces helplessly, somewhat effectively pleading to each other.
While Breathnach’s intimate camera works, some elements don’t. The movie, after all, began, with children tracing raindrops on a foggy car window. It’s a scene that Breathnach sets to sad guitar music. That’s just one of the hallmarks of neo-neo-realist cinema that audiences can see here. It would have also been nice to see what their life was like before all this. There’s also a scene in the end that’s a bit overdone. But Greene’s performance saves this film. She’s lucky to get a complex character who’s polite to her unruly children. This is both a generational thing and an effect of a backstory that the film drops on her. She’s bringing decorum to these children’s lives while living in a system that disallows it.