Content warning: rape and sexual assault.
Another day, another brilliant Irish film. From Wildfire to Herself, Irish filmmakers really have been knocking it out of the park lately. Rose Plays Julie is the third feature film from writing-and-directing duo Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor.
Rose Plays Julie tells the story of Rose (Ann Skelly) a veterinary student who wants to find her biological parents. The beginning of the film sees Rose getting in contact with her birth-mother Ellen (Orla Brady). In spite of Ellen’s reluctance, Rose travels from Dublin to London in the hopes of meeting her in person and finding out who her father is.
What follows is a dark journey. Rose finds out that she was conceived as a result of rape and goes after revenge against her father. Like David Slade’s Hard Candy, Rose Plays Julie veers into sadism to try and answer the question “does vengeance heal?”
With excellent performances from Ann Skelly, Orla Brady and Aiden Gillen as Rose’s biological father, Rose Plays Julie keeps you on the edge of your seat. Molloy and Lawlor’s film doesn’t pull any punches, using visceral scenes of Rose’s class performing autopsies on animals and an increasingly twisted narrative to maintain its grip on the viewer.