(Written by Intern, Lauren Vega)
Experience the heartwarming Rosie; a breath of fresh air, the film touches on real-life scenarios such as adoption, discrimination, and financial hardship. The script and dialogue are both organic, creating authentic interactions between characters. We follow Fred (Melanie Bray), an aspiring but unsuccessful artist who struggles to care for herself. Unexpectedly, she is handed her recently deceased foster sisters’ daughter, Rosie (Keris Hope Hill), and is forced to take care of her as well. The movie authentically portrays the hardships of poverty, traumatic experiences from the foster system, and discrimination between sexuality and ethnicity.
The narrative is smooth, but a bit predictable and anti-climactic. While I do not wish more hardships on Fred, Rosie, Flo, and Mo, the plot becomes stagnant at times. I did enjoy the anonymity of the ending though, as I believe it reflected reality—never knowing what is next. I found myself distracted by wanting to know more about the characters themselves. The only individual given depth, in my opinion, was Flo, played by Constant Bernard. I felt so connected with Flo’s feelings and emotions. Her storyline was strengthened by her experience with coming from a broken home with a father who did not accept her, and a mother who still communicated with her despite the father’s orders.
In contrast, Fred is angry and frustrated over the foster care system, but the script does not provide a backstory about her specific experiences in the group home. While I agree that generally, these circumstances are horrible, we needed a better window in order to understand Fred and her means of navigating life. This trauma could be the end obstacle that she overcomes. In turn, we would be provided a better developed character arc for Fred.
The audience is told that Fred has a connection to Rosie’s mother, but other than a teddy bear and sharing the same home, I did not feel a genuine connection between the two adopted sisters. Providing context of what bonded them in particular would have supplied more substance towards an emotional understanding of Fred, who comes off otherwise as a trashy and artsy underdog.
I felt this same type of disconnect with all the other characters, and that we should have touched more on Jigger, who supposedly has a more cultural connection to Rosie. Additionally, though Fred was impoverished and living paycheck to paycheck, their apartment is large and colorful, which feels strange when juxtaposed with the extreme poverty present in the lives of our main crew and in the town.
Overall, the plot needs more development and in-depth analysis of each character, though I appreciate the spotlight placed on some very real life issues. By leaning into the common struggles of the viewer, this touching movie speaks to all viewers in one way or another. I would highly recommend Rosie as an easy watch!
Rosie screened at 2022’s Toronto International Film Festival.