Sarah steps into the spot­light

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - CINEMA -

Hi­lary A White

SARAH Greene’s time has ar­rived. By the time you read this, Rosie, the new drama she stars in, will have be­gun its task of mov­ing the con­ver­sa­tion around this coun­try’s hous­ing cri­sis up a notch. In it, the Cork ac­tress plays the young mother of the ti­tle try­ing to jug­gle the usual re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and lo­gis­tics that come with be­ing a par­ent to young chil­dren. The only dif­fer­ence for her and hus­band John Paul (Moe Dun­ford) is that they’re home­less.

Writ­ten by Roddy Doyle with an eye on the hid­den prac­ti­cal headaches of this night­mare, it is re­quired view­ing for the na­tion be­cause, as is so of­ten the case, its fic­tion fa­cil­i­tates our un­der­stand­ing of re­al­ity.

Paddy Breath­nach’s film is a hard-hit­ting piece of so­cial re­al­ist film­mak­ing but also a ten­der and beau­ti­ful por­trait of a woman try­ing to keep the fam­ily show on the road from the tight en­vi­rons of her car, all the while be­ing kept on hold by the emer­gency ac­com­mo­da­tion helpline.

“Every­one de­serves a home,” the 34-year-old nods. “It’s very hard be­ing a mother or fa­ther and not be­ing able to pro­vide for your fam­ily. Your job as a par­ent is to keep them safe and pro­tect them, and when as­pects of that are taken away it puts these peo­ple in an aw­ful sit­u­a­tion. These are good peo­ple, like most of the fam­i­lies faced with this. It’s through no fault of their own, it’s through re­pos­ses­sion or land­lords sell­ing and there’s just nowhere to rent, it’s too ex­pen­sive. The coun­try has got so greedy. So yeah, it was a very im­por­tant role for me to take on.”

But for Greene, Rosie is des­tined to be a spe­cial film in other ways. Af­ter bit parts in fare such as The Guard (2011), the Corko­nian’s im­mac­u­late craft and elfin, Ar­mada looks came to wider at­ten­tion when she starred in the Abbey pro­duc­tion of Alice in Fun­der­land (2012) be­fore her West End turn in The Crip­ple of Inish­maan in 2013 nabbed her Tony and Lau­rence Olivier Award nom­i­na­tions.

Since then, we’ve seen a some­what un­even as­cen­sion on the big screen (sup­port­ing roles in Noble, Dublin Old­school, Black 47, the Bradley Cooper flop Burnt) and the small ( Re­bel­lion, Ran­som, Penny Dread­ful). De­spite seem­ing ubiq­ui­tous and win­ning a cou­ple of If­tas along the way, there was al­ways a feel­ing Greene had yet to find her place in the land­scape and cap­i­talise on the buzz. Rosie, a front-and-cen­tre pow­er­house per­for­mance, has put paid to such talk.

“Well I am, yeah,” she agrees in sing-song Lee­side when I put it to her that she’s been picky about the work she takes on. “Choice is ev­ery­thing. Un­for­tu­nately, we do a lot of fluff. There’s three boxes — pro­file, money, heart — and if the project ticks two of those, you do it. I read this script and was in­cred­i­bly moved by it and it’s such an im­por­tant story. I felt hon­oured to be part of it.”

While the hous­ing cri­sis raged out­side the perime­ter of the set dur­ing film­ing, there was some­thing else in the air that made Greene adamant to do this part.

“As a woman, there aren’t many roles like Rosie that come up. This is rare, but it is hope­fully start­ing to change. Peo­ple are go­ing to see films with fe­male lead casts which five years ago wasn’t hap­pen­ing be­cause you couldn’t get fund­ing.

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