This French-Belgian film is one that used to feature in a version of the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, I was prepared to see it and hoping for a good one, directed by brothers Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne (The Kid with a Bike). Basically twenty- seven-year-old Rosetta (Émilie Dequenne) has lost her probationary employment, and following a violent confrontation, she returns home to trailer park "The Grand Canyon", shared with her alcoholic Mother (Anne Yernaux). Unable to receive unemployment pay and desperate for work, Rosetta goes around asking about vacancies in various places, then she happens upon a waffle stand, after an enquiry she makes friends with worker Riquet (Fabrizio Rongione), she is experiencing period cramps. Rosetta is startled when Riquet makes an unexpected visit to the trailer park, he informs her there is a job available, as a worker was fired, she is also encouraged to tell her mother, who is promiscuous due to alcoholism, to seek a rehabilitation clinic, but the mother is in denial and runs away. Rosetta spends the night with Riquet, and tries to convince herself that her life has started to function normally, but after three days at work she is replaced by The Boss (Olivier Gourmet), this turns into another violent confrontation, but she calms down when he tells her he will call if an opportunity is available. Rosetta starts looking for employment again, and keeps Riquet company during work, she later saves him from drowning, but she also finds out he has been selling his own waffles elsewhere, Rosetta contemplates what to do, but tells the owner, she watches as Riquet is thrown out of the stand. Riquet is betrayed and hurt, he chases Rosetta on his moped, he eventually catches up to her and demands to know why she did what she did, she states she wanted a job, and had no intention of saving him from the water. Rosetta is rehired on the waffle stand, she encounters Riquet again, as a customer, returning home she finds her mother barely conscious and inebriated, she calls her boss to tell him she will not be working the next day. Later Rosetta is forced to get a new gas canister, Riquet shows up on his moped and circles her, she collapses to the ground and cries, Riquet helps her up, Rosetta turns around to gaze at him as she slowly regains her composure. Also starring Bernard Marbaix as The Campgrounds Manager, Frédéric Bodson as The Head of Personnel and Florian Delain as The Boss's Son. The debuting Dequenne gives a great performance as the troubled teenager desperate for a job for self-esteem as much as pay, it is a difficult and gruelling watch most of the time, with a soul-destroying routine for the leading character, but it is a good view of social realism, an affective drama. Worth watching!
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Young and impulsive Rosetta lives with her alcoholic mother and, moved by despair, she will do anything to maintain a job.
November 23, 2021