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#TIFF22 Review: Rosie (Discovery)

September 9, 2022

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

The 2022 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 8th to 18th.

The title character in Rosie, the feature debut of Métis filmmaker Gail Maurice, is an Indigenous girl (Keris Hope Hill) living in Montreal in the 1980s, who gets taken in by her Francophone aunt Frédèrique (Mélanie Bray) after her mother dies. The adopted sister of Rosie’s mom, Fred is her only living relative. The trouble is that she is in no way capable of caring for Rosie, working a dead end job in a sex shop and hopelessly behind on rent, but the alternative is that she ends up in the foster system.

Maurice’s earnest, well-meaning film also tells the story of Fred’s two close friends Flo (Constant Bernard) and Mo (Alex Trahan), a pair of gender-bending sex workers who do drag, and become chosen family as they step in to help raise Rosie. While Rosie is well-intentioned, almost to a fault, the film also feels like it tries to be too many things at once and takes on too many different themes.

The execution can feel overly sentimental, in a way that keeps the film from fully capturing the gritty realism it seems to be striving for, and at times Rosie feels like a collection of indie movie cliches, including several montages set to pop songs. But there are still some more genuinely sweet, feel-good moments here showing the bond that forms between these disparate people from different marginalized groups.

Public Screenings:

Friday, September 9th – 6:15 PM at Scotiabank 10

Wednesday, September 14th – 5:30 PM at Scotiabank 13

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