It has been a huge month for Rose Play Julie.
Desperate Optimists latest film received its UK and Irish general release on 17th September and to rave reviews!
Fonic is so proud to have worked with Desperate Optimists and Samson Films on this film and we are so pleased to see the film getting the recognition it deserves, after a delayed release due to Covid-19.
Below is a round up of some of the fantastic press & reviews Rose Plays Julie has received over the past month.
Desperate Optimists’s Joe Lawlor and Christine Malloy were interviewed by Cath Clarke in The Guardian ahead of Rose Plays Julie release: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/sep/14/predator-father-icy-thriller-child-of-rape-metoo-aidan-gillan
And Christine was also interviewed for online culture magazine The Skinny: https://www.theskinny.co.uk/film/interviews/christine-molloy-and-joe-lawlor-on-rose-plays-julie
Dazed Digital’s interviewed Ann Skelly, who plays the lead role of Rose / Julie. Dazed called Rose Plays Julie an ‘intensely powerful drama’ : “Before this reunion of sorts, Rose and Ellen each stare into nothingness and suffer in silence; under the Desperate Optimists’ direction, these wordless snapshots of women weighed down by their thoughts are profoundly cinematic.” https://www.dazeddigital.com/film-tv/article/54202/1/rose-plays-julie-revenge-thriller-trauma-ann-skelly-interview
Moving onto the reviews. Four reviews mention the sound design and two in their opening paragraphs:
rogerebert.com gave the film 3.5 stars and noted “The silences in “Rose Plays Julie” border on unnerving, especially when placed up against loud clanging doors, the crunch of car wheels on gravel, any sound at all.” https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/rose-plays-julie-movie-review-2021
rogersmovienation.com gave Roes Plays Julie three stars and explained: “The Oscar-nominated “Sound of Metal” is wholly conceived around loud noise and learning to live in silent deafness. The filmmakers behind “Rose Plays Julie” take care to use muffled sound, soft ringing or stony silence to show not just the effect of injuries, but numbing shock and momentary disconnects from the world.” https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/rose-plays-julie-movie-review-2021
The other review which mentioned sound design are, Empire magazine’s four star review: “That fixation is unsettling, a feeling compounded by the film’s lingering, glacially patient camerawork, moving so slowly to the point of near-stillness, with a chilly colour-palette occasionally disrupted by sudden flashes of red, whether that’s the blood of a dissected animal or the broken nose of a college age-creep. That unnerving, sometimes uncanny tone translates to its excellent sound design, with evocative howling winds and rumbling white noise.” https://www.empireonline.com/movies/reviews/rose-plays-julie/
And finally, the mainly positive review from City AM which talked about the silence in the audio design: “There are huge gaps of silence that fill with tension, as the camera cuts to nature, or a certain part of a room, to allow the viewer to think about what has just happened, but also the characters to move away from it. This technique is used more sparingly as Rose begins to confront her issues, an intelligent way of telling a tough story.” https://www.cityam.com/rose-plays-julie-review-a-tense-exploration-of-trauma/
Mark Kermode covered Rose Play’s Julie in many of his outlets. Firstly his four star review in The Observer: “Eerily ambient cues by versatile composer Stephen McKeon evoke a whispering chorus of dread….to create something uniquely strange and unsettling.” He also named it his film of the week on his BBC Radio 5 Live Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review saying: “There are things in the film that are very, very disturbing. There are things in the film that are magical , timeless and etherial” And finally, as part of his BBC’s Film Review review, Kermode described the film as a “Terrific piece of work” https://www.theguardian.com/film/2021/sep/19/rose-plays-julie-review-christine-molloy-joe-lawlor-ann-skelly-identity-quest https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000zrxx https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfrqbeltLZo https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000zrlt/the-film-review-17092021
The Radio’s Times Five star review summerised the film as: “Quiet, intense, chilling and thrilling, this is a masterpiece of dread atmospherics.” https://www.radiotimes.com/film/k48knp/rose-plays-julie/
The Skinny gave the film four stars and concluded: “This is hypnotic, thrilling, deeply confident filmmaking.” https://www.theskinny.co.uk/film/new-releases/rose-plays-julie-christine-molloy-joe-lawlor
The Financial Times provided a positive review describing Desperate Optimistic as ‘two of the most consistently interesting film-makers working today.’:“Later, as the plot fills with awful truths and barefaced lies, others do the same. And all the while there’s that deceptive stillness, one among many inspired stylistic choices: a score of kettledrum rumbles and a single, piercing bright high note; floor-to-ceiling windows that still leave rooms in shadow; a script filled with loaded, weighted lines.” https://www.ft.com/content/596e1ee3-b8f3-456d-8c87-e9920c5f4bd5
The Times gave the film a four star review and explained: “The delicious slow-build tension from the co-directors Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor is created via dark themes (Rose is studying “euthanasia on healthy animals”), heavy interior shadows, sinister tracking shots, choral music and ominous orchestral brass (hints of Stanley Kubrick).” https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/rose-plays-julie-review-delicious-tension-with-dark-themes-w53f6kdpm And named it one of their five films to watch that weekend: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/five-new-films-for-this-weekend-fauci-rose-plays-julie-and-more-2wkzgh3cm
The Mail on Sunday’s four star review said: “The creative ‘volume’ has been set high; maybe a tad too high in the end. But, my goodness, it’s good…” https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/event/article-9998691/Gunpowder-Milkshake-starring-Karen-Gillan-Angela-Bassett-review-Disappointing-derivative.html
New Statesman positive review described: “The experience of watching the film can be likened to coming round from anaesthetic – everything feel distant and not quite real. The camera glides and prowls. The streets are largely empty, background noise reduced to a hush, the antiseptic homes and hallways regarded with the same detached eye as the dramatic Irish landscapes or the visceral goo of veterinary dissections. Stephen McKeon’s sinister score contains occasional twinkling notes and a soaring female choral voice that seems to express Rose’s hopes and horrors in turn.” https://www.newstatesman.com/culture/film/2021/09/rose-plays-julie-is-the-parent-trap-with-teeth The Arts Desk four star review described the film as a “Slow-moving, sombre, alienated and beautiful, its pace is underpinned by Stephen McKeon’s ominous score.” https://theartsdesk.com/film/rose-plays-julie-review-sombre-story-rape-adoption-and-search-identity
Sight and sound, the BFI’s online magazine gave Rose Plays Julie a positive review, summarising that it: “poses ethical dilemmas and undercuts Eurowestern narrative traditions with every twist of the plot and shift in tone.” https://www.bfi.org.uk/sight-and-sound/reviews/rose-plays-julie-mythic-thriller-about-women-violence
The Sunday Independent (Ireland)’s 4.5 star review remarked that: “The three leads are superb and the sum total is excellent.” https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/movie-reviews/ifi-documentary-festival-fantastic-line-up-reveals-lives-less-ordinary-across-the-globe-40863378.html
The four star Irish Independent review summarised: There’s an eerie emptiness to the way it’s all shot, an intentional bleakness that chimes perfectly with Rose’s psychological state. https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/movies/movie-reviews/rose-plays-julie-movie-review-irish-thriller-a-cut-above-the-rest-as-it-dissects-horrors-of-the-past-40858814.html
RTÉ (Ireland) 3.5 star explained: “Directors Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy have written a story that feels ominous from its opening narration and then delivers on that sense of dread for the next 95-odd minutes” https://www.rte.ie/entertainment/movie-reviews/2021/0917/1247386-rose-plays-julie-strong-performances-weak-pacing/
And finally the three star review in the Irish Times said: “Interior spaces feel like well-appointed waiting rooms. Tom Comerford’s cinematography – also seen to advantage in the current Herself – allows ambiguous shades to creep into even the sharpest compositions. Stephen McKeon’s eerie, vocal-heavy score presses home the unease beneath even the most apparently benign images.”