Updated: Oct 22, 2020

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.

Synopsis: Rose is the story of a young couple living alone in the woods who must contend with a life altering illness that manifests itself in a violent and terrifying way. Rose's disease is a vampiric , parasitic thirst for blood. As her hunger grows, all humanity seems to give way to a feral violence that harms both her and those around her. Their loving relationship strains under the burden of Rose' illness, and it is only a matter of time until the secluded life that they have built is upended entirely.

Rose: A Love Story celebrated its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on 13th October 2020

Rose: A Love Story is an incredibly gripping thriller. The story from the outside looks like a wonderful love story of commitment, loyalty and dedication. However, as the film unravels we are lured into a sinister corridor which starts to break down the illusions that have been built up about what is actually happening and the level of horror that lies underneath what we are presented with. The film allows for reflection about the code of love, what are we prepared to tolerate? How far is one prepared to go to protect love? and how obligated do we feel we need to be with feelings of resentment, which then infringe on the freedom that love should be about and when should we let go when only the truth can set us free?

The film is characterised and defined by the various moods it elicits, giving viewers heightened feelings of surprise, anticipation, anxiety and suspense. Each scene is cleverly shot, giving viewers just enough insight and information to grasp what maybe going on, without having time to think beyond that moment. This way we become fully immersed in each moment, which makes the suspense even more electrifying. What enhances those immersive moments are the constant drip of subtle and heart warming cuddles and kisses of the couple Rose and Sam in their undying love for each other, and Sam's mission to keep make sure Rose stays alive, which takes the edge of the underlying horror that is always on the verge of exploding and escaping.

The film also draws viewers into the web of the pulling one the heart strings, with moments of tenderness that rest on egg shells as both characters try to keep a healthy balance of the ever pervading reality that Rose's disease needs to be controlled, and the need to have certain things in order so that her vampiric thirst and hunger is quenched. This also put pressure on their relationship. The tension between the couple was often palpable because the simplest gesture or word was often misconstrued or mis-interpreted because every moment was important because n a split second everything could change.

The illusion of unconditional love between Rose played by Sophie Rundle and Sam played by Matt Stokoe was then shattered when Sam opens up to their unexpected visitor, who he has to take in, because her foot had been broken in a trap he had set. During this conversation it became evident that Sam had began to feel burdened, obligated and duty bound to Rose and was struggling and becoming resentful by his commitment to her, to seeing her get better. Even though the love they had was the thread that was keeping his commitment in place. However, the freedom to love freely and unabridged was unravelling, along with the fight to keep the disease from growing and getting stronger. The pressure on Sam was also beginning to spill in his quest to keep Rose, the love of his life protected and this was clearly seen with the scenes where he almost killed a man.

There were many moments throughout the film where the disease took over Rose's character, with scenes where she would be standing silent as Sam called out to her, her poise and stance menacing - her silence was her answer and it was palpable.

On the edge of the chair suspense was further created by the use of external dictates i.e the clatter of the tins on a rope outside the house against the wind, permeated by pure stillness and silence suggestive that something formidable was about to happen, and yet just remaining the clatter of tins against the wind. Then there was the constant creaking of the floor boards upstairs in the house as Rose typed up her manuscript in the seductively darkened kitchen, deafened by a silence and disturbed only by the clatter of Rose on the typewriter - creaking floorboards suggesting an intruder. The process where Sam sat each night to read whilst dedicatedly placing leeches to suck on the blood from his legs and in the darkened silence, Rose, or rather the 'other' Rose stood silent and still nearby, watching, waiting, drawn by the scent of blood, yet not responding to Sam when he called out. Waiting. Then the paradox of being surrounded by nature and her beauty, huge white mountains covered in snow, a never ending expanse of nothingness, and yet in the midst of it all, in a very small house placed in the middle of this expanse of nowhere, a horror lurks that could devastate the face of the world, if unleashed.

In conclusion, this is a must see. Rose: A Love Story will keep you on your toes, on the edge of your seat evoking the questioning about what lurks inside all of us, what do we feed? and who are we really? and how do we stop ourselves getting lost in someone else's love...or NOT!!!! Trailer: Written by Matt Stokoe Directed by Jennifer Sheridan Starring Matt Stokoe, Sophie Rundle and Olive Gray Produced by April Kelley, Sara Huxley, Rob Taylor, Matt Stokoe and Sophie Rundle Duration: 86 Minutes MINI PRODUCTIONS |

Written by Esther Austin Editor in Chief

Turingpoint: Your Lifestyle, Your Well-Being Magazine @turningpointmagazine

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