Screen Time: 80%
Age: 13 years old
Directed: Patrice Toye
Genre: Coming of Age, Drama
In a juvenile lockup, a new ward answers questions: she's Rosie, 13, no parents, a sister Irene, a brother Michel. In flashbacks we find out what happened. She lives with Irene, who's 27, whom Rosie knows is in fact her mother, but that's their secret. Irene's brother Michel, unemployed, a compulsive gambler, comes to stay with them. Around then, Irene meets Bernard; they come to care for each other. This leaves Rosie without attention, so she puts all her adolescent hopes and romantic fantasies into a relationship with Jimi, a good looking kid she sees on a bus. Is it adventures with Jimi that land her in juvie? Once she's there, why doesn't he answer her letters?
Movie Reviews'Rosie' casts a favorable glow on mothers-daughters
Friday, November 26, 1999
By PAULA NECHAK
SPECIAL TO THE SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER
The notion of disenfranchised kids barely surviving abuse and the confusion of adult actions has saturated the indie film scene during the past several years.
The Belgian film "Rosie," which took its first-time director Patrice Toye four years to make, is a refreshing change of pace, offering a different perspective on this tired theme. It explores well-trod territory with a thankfully skewed twist and outcome.
Rosie (Aranka Coppens) is a teenager who lives with her mom Irene (Sara De Roo) and lascivious uncle Stan (Frank Vercruyssen). Irene, who gave birth to her daughter at a tender age, passes Rosie off as her sister instead of her child in order to appear more youthful and desirable to her men friends.
Rosie's active imagination dreams of a world with perfect parents, a perfect Prince Charming boyfriend and an idyllic and harmonious family existence. Her fantasies, which are the only way the girl can put some sense of reason and rationale into her life, lead to hard times and she winds up enduring the antithesis of her deepest secret desire.
Toye models a world in which Rosie's story is revealed through flashbacks and imaginative flights of fancy that precariously perch on a dark and dangerous razor's edge. Though the movie stumbles at times by becoming a bit too coincidental and contrived in its look at the destructive actions by screwed-up parents upon their kids, it manages to retain a real sense of childlike innocence and hope despite its young protagonist's confusion over a grown-up world that is unapologetically harsh.
Rosie. Directed and written by Patrice Toye. Cast: Aranka Coppens, Sara De Roo. New Yorker Films. Varsity. 97 minutes. Unrated. In Flemish with English subtitles. Grade: B
The director has made a real find with her young star, Aranka Coppens, whom she chose after auditioning 500 girls and who, according to the director, "just grew and grew and became better and better" in a difficult role.
Consequently, "Rosie" presses past the common casualties that plague most movies about youthful angst, pain and deception. It also avoids the cliché of a tragic ending. It examines an unorthodox and mysterious bond that, though troubled, gradually morphs into an unexpectedly poignant love story between a mother and her child.