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Review: Rosie (TIFF 2022)

Title: Rosie
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Gail Maurice
Starring: Melanie Bray, Keris Hope Hill, Constant Bernard, Alex Trahan
Runtime: 1 hr 32 mins

What It Is: In 1980s Montreal, A young orphaned Indigenous girl named Rosie (Hill) is passed off to her Aunt Fred (Bray), an artist who is discouraged by the idea of guardianship in light of her independent lifestyle. Fred brings Rosie along to her day-to-day, also meeting Fred’s queer best friends Flo (Bernard) and Mo (Trahan). As the four become closer than ever and Fred realizes her love and admiration for the exuberant Rosie, they find their time together may be more limited than they could have ever known.

What We Think: I loved the personality and performances behind this film. This is a simple, old-as-time-itself tale about found parenthood in which someone finds themselves unlikely to have a profound familial relationship with another are proven wrong over the course of a couple of days and several musical montages. If this story archetype is for you, then you’re probably a parent or guardian who will love this film. The actors are fantastic at really making you care for them as individuals, possibly people who could have really existed in time. The music montages are plenty, but I can’t say I minded them as they fit in well with the spirit of the film evoking innocent fun. Thankfully, also considering where it’s set in time and who it stars, it decides not to involve too much of tragedy or abuse in the story. Considering it’s focused more on setting up a positive and safe environment for its characters and strays away from exploiting any heavy subject matter having to do with being a lower-class woman, queer person, or Indigenous child in the 80s. There’s a time and place to discuss those hard topics (personally I believe those should exist in educational spaces, rather than to entertain, shock, and exploit) and this movie does well in understanding the context of the characters in time, but also keeping to what it’s truly about, which is of course family.

Our Grade: B-, Solidly-written and well-acted, this film would appeal to those who can be captivated by the themes of creating a family and saving children from a cyclical system that chews them up only to spit them out in potentially abusive situations. It’d be a fine movie to watch as a parent, or with your kids. It’s sweet, profound, inclusive, and occasionally funny.

 

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