Rosie (3 stars)


Modest but heartbreaking social realist drama from Irish director Paddy Breathnach

More than half a century after the groundbreaking Cathy Come Home, Rosie offers a sombre reminder of just how little has changed. This modest social realist drama builds into a cry from the heart about the nightmare of homelessness.

Director Paddy Breathnach and screenwriter Roddy Doyle have crafted a sincere, sensitive tale of a family struggling to stay afloat in a system that seems designed to drag them down. A flurry of headlines establishes that Ireland has one of the highest rates of family homelessness in Europe. Soaring rents and low housing stock lie at the root of a growing crisis. Rosie (Sarah Greene), her partner John Paul (Moe Dunford) and their four children are the latest human casualties of that crisis. After seven year of renting the same house in Dublin, their landlord decides to sell. The quest to find an affordable alternative is the backbone of a plaintive tale that unfolds over 36 hours.

Rosie is marked by a quiet restraint and a determination to avoid melodrama. Doyle's screenplay emphasises the ordinariness of these lives. John Paul has a job. The older children attend school. This is a situation that could happen to anyone. Rosie spends her day working through a council list of temporary accommodation seeking somewhere they might call home for a few days, or even one night. Her endless phone calls start with a hope that quickly drains away.

Handheld camerawork and searching close-ups are used to create an intimate connection with the emotional plight of a family in a film that still finds moments of humour and humanity as the odds turn against them. Very much in the tradition of Ken Loach classics and the cinema of the Dardenne brothers, Rosie is slight and overly familiar but that doesn't make it any less of a heartbreaker.

Selected release from Fri 8 Mar.


  • 3 stars
  • 2018
  • Ireland
  • 1h 26min
  • Directed by: Paddy Breathnach
  • Cast: Sarah Greene, Moe Dunford, Ellie O'Halloran

Rosie (Greene) and her partner John Paul (Dunford) have been renting the same house in Dublin for seven years, but then their landlord decides to sell, and they face homelessness. Modest but heartbreaking social realist drama, slight and over-familiar but with moments of humour and humanity.