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ROSE PLAYS JULIE Review: NIGHTSTREAM Feature Film

From directors Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor, Rose Plays Julie follows a young woman who tracks down her birth parents, looking for answers to her identity. But don’t expect an idyllic reunion from this dark, twisted revenge thriller, as Rose uncovers disturbing truths on her journey. Part of the NIGHTSTREAM Film Festival, this film is so expertly crafted and one that completely consumes you as a viewer.

Starring Ann Skelly as the titular character, with Orla Brady and Aidan Gillen portraying her birth parents, Rose Plays Julie tackles various issues from the perspective of an adoptive child, as well as the female experience. Both of these narratives blending well with the films icy atmosphere and mysterious structure.

I think the beauty of the film is how it showcases a realistic depiction of both trauma and the dynamics of adoption, and how people can heal or overcome those experiences. And while the film places Rose in the forefront, it is just as much as a story of her mother’s healing as well. It is a fantastic thriller that you simply cannot anticipate. Its talent is unmatched, with Skelly and Brady creating this painful connection with just a glance. The tension builds so gradually, while we get small pieces of information that begin to really transform this story into a more intense drama.

It’s hard to dive too much into the plot, because there is such a thin line before giving too much away. But I think this is the perfect film for anyone who enjoys really artful storytelling, that hides a lot of its shock in moments of innuendo, moments you decipher as the story unravels. And the final ten minutes are the most profoundly shocking and meaningful minutes of them all.


NIGHTSTREAM is a virtual film festival comprised of the Boston Underground Film Festival (MA), Brooklyn Horror Film Festival (NY), North Bend Film Festival (WA), the Overlook Film Festival (LA), and Popcorn Frights Film Festival (FL), showcasing a variety of genre films the weekend of Oct. 8-11. Proceeds from the festival will go to the filmmakers and artists, as well as various charities from the respective festivals towns.


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