A reluctant aunt has no choice but to take in her orphaned indigenous niece in rosary beadsa heartwarming story set in Montreal in the 1980s.
Frédérique (Mélanie Bray), also known as Fred, takes in Rosie (Keris Hope Hill) after the death of her adoptive sister. This movie is set in 1984, but it also talks about a broken system. Fred is in no position to take in a child. She doesn’t have a job and is about to lose her house. Although she is an artist and she creates her work out of trash, she does not make money to keep a roof over her head. Never mind the differences between the two: Rosie speaks English while Fred speaks French. However, Fred knows from her own experience how bad foster care can be. Her financial troubles certainly don’t help the situation: they find themselves sleeping in a junkyard in no time. It’s only going to get worse before it gets better!
If Fred is going to have Rosie in his life, it means introducing him to both Flo (Constant Bernard) and Mo (Alex Trahan). When Flo’s mother dies, her father insists that they go to the funeral dressed as men. Lo and behold, Flo and company come to the funeral dressed to the nines. The production notes use both her/her pronouns when talking about Flo and Mo in the film. Should they have chosen a transgender woman for these roles? I’m not too sure since the synopsis refers to the characters as “gender-swapping”. Regardless, Rosie, Fred, Flo, and Mo have truly become a chosen family by the end of the movie.
The following statement comes from Gail Maurice via the film’s publicists:
Flo is written from an indigenous perspective. We have no gender in my Cree/Michif.
In Cree/Michif, we don’t use pronouns. Flo is simply Flo, a spirit/human who wears women’s clothing.
I spent over a year trying to define Flo & Mo for people/funders/broadcasters etc until I realized they were written from an indigenous perspective and we don’t have those definitions. They are neither of them. They’re just Flo & Mo, who don’t fit into a neat box for the Western way of thinking.
Writer/director Gail Maurice draws from her personal experience in telling this story. What she does here is tell a story about identity and acceptance. It may not be the path most filmmakers would take, but not every film necessarily has to be mainstream. But still, these are stories that need to be told. rosary beads it is a film that focuses on a chosen family and making the best of the current situation.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Gail Maurice
CAST: Mélanie Bray, Keris Hope Hill, Constant Bernard, Alex Trahan, Josée Young, Brandon Oakes, Jocelyne Zucco, Arlen Aguayo Stewart
ROSIE has its world premiere during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival on the Discovery show. Rating: 3.5/5
Subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Substack.