Rose: A Love Story (2020) – Film Review
Cast: Matt Stokoe, Sophie Rundle, Olive Gray
Director: Jennifer Sheridan
Knowing little about this bleak drama from the outset, I endure the production credits, soak up the wintry visuals of a hunter locking up his cabin and scouring the woods, and fully expect I’m in Canada or the frozen woods of America. What I don’t expect is the key leads are Brits.
So while it may have the look and feel of sublime American thriller Wind River, suddenly it feels a lot closer to home.
Given the latest lockdown, there’s little wonder siege thrillers will touch a chord with many. Films such as A Quiet Place, in which a small family fight for survival against mostly unseen forces, feel all the more relevant these days, even if the creatures in the dark are pure Hollywood, that threat feels very real. The same is true here.
The plot: gripped by a violent, terrifying illness, Rose lives in seclusion with her husband, but the arrival of a stranger shatters the fragile refuge they have built.
Sophie Rundle, who some will know from Peaky Blinders, is terrific as the eponymous protagonist; writer/co-star Matt Stokoe is also excellent, ably selling the premise, while adding that necessary degree of gravitas. It’s a promising feature from director Jennifer Sheridan which sustains the interest throughout. When Olive Gray turns up, she’s equally as good as the two leads.
As the movie unfolds and that third character upsets the status quo, it’s hard not to feel for the troubled spouses. Yes, it leads to a dramatic conclusion, but while the themes may be decades old, there’s a freshness to the execution. It looks great, the cast are genuinely superb and there’s a naturalism to the drama.
As three-handers go, it’s one of the best of the year, and on the strength of this cast and crew should go on to bigger, possibly better things.