As for #MeToo thrillers, Rose Plays Julie is unpredictable.
A quiet vet student in Dublin, Rose (Ann Skelly) recently discovered that she was adopted and that her original name was Julie. She goes to London to find her birth mother, Ellen (Orla Brady), a television actress who wants no memories of the circumstances of Julie’s birth or any connection to her daughter. Ellen’s baby was born of rape and she had asked that there be no further contact with Julie after the adoption.
“Rose Plays Julie”, written and directed by Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, frames his sexual trauma as a cross-generational one. It looks at the double life of women through the ideas of external success and internal torment as well as the trope of the naive girl versus the seductive avenger.
Just as Ellen is playing a character for her day job, Rose “plays” Julie – dressed in a wig – when she finally tracks down her birth father, Peter (Aidan Gillen), a famous archaeologist who repeats his sexual abuse pattern with Rose. Her disguise isn’t necessary as Peter doesn’t know her name or that she even exists. The “Julie” identity provides both a shield against her mother’s trauma and a vessel to contain it. Your actions represent a thought-provoking interplay of pain and self-preservation.
But this device can also work against history at times. In the midst of the lush green of the backdrop, the atmosphere is always creepy – with a threateningly high score – and makes the film appear distant and difficult to grasp. Despite its unusual approach to belated revenge, “Rose Plays Julie” remains a little too cold and calculating.
Rose plays Julie
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. In virtual cinemas and available to rent or buy on Apple TV, Vudu and other streaming platforms as well as pay TV operators.