Rosalie | Fresh Takes

Fresh takes and film reviews from new voices in film.

Ashreet, Joshua, Eve & Dina

31 May 24

Fresh Takes is a space for the latest generation of film lovers to share their views and opinions on some of the great films we are showing at Picturehouse cinemas. 

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Here are some Fresh Takes on Rosalie. France, 1870s. Rosalie is a young woman unlike any other. She hides a secret: she was born with a face and body covered in hair. She's concealed her peculiarity all her life to stay safe, shaving to fit in. Until Abel, an indebted bar owner unaware of her secret, marries Rosalie for her dowry. Will Abel be able to love Rosalie and see her as the woman she is, once he finds out the truth?

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Ashreet, 23

Ashreet, 23, enjoys watching movies more than she likes talking about it.

Ashreet says...

Nominated for the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival, Rosalie explores what it is like to be at odds not only with yourself, but others around you. What makes a woman? From the very first scene we are given a glimpse, through the constant anxiety that grips Rosalie (Nadia Tereszkiewicz) over her fear of being 'found out' for her facial and body hair. It's an anxiety that is no doubt born from her father's shame and subsequent husband's disgust.

While it is thrilling to see Rosalie develop some agency, the film can be hard to watch at times due to the raw depictions of harm done to her, both self-inflicted and committed by others. Her very existence being subject to such discourse amongst the townsfolk is masterfully showcased, culminating with a tension-filled scene that's reminiscent of the way queer people are treated today.

While the sound design can feel like a borderline ASMR experience, the visuals are incredibly well thought-out, evoking a sense of serenity as we follow Rosalie to her safe space in the woods. Overall, Rosalie left me wondering if most people's brand of acceptance can truly be all-encompassing, or if we still treat non-conformists as spectators to be marvelled at.

Joshua, 22

Josh, 22, is a history and politics graduate with a passion for melodrama, musical
numbers and forbidden love.

Josh says…

Rosalie is a film focusing on a young woman's sense of being different and how a rural community reacts to the arrival of an outsider who upsets their perception of the conventional.

The film strikes a great balance between looking at Rosalie's self-perception and insecurities, and digging into the responses of the villagers around her. There are uplifting sequences highlighting her courage as she attempts to build the life she wants for herself in her new home, all the while learning to embrace who she is and making no compromise on her appearance. However, it is a mistake to call this anything close to feel-good – the film is resolute in showing how precarious Rosalie's acceptance is, and how her condition provokes disgust just as often as curiosity.

Much of this resentment stems from her husband, Abel, in an excellent portrayal by Benoît Magimel. Magimel shows Abel to be a man consumed by the memories and wounds of a bygone war, whose pent-up anger is only intensified on learning of his wife's condition, while her attempts at pushing past the initial prejudices of her neighbours and establishing herself in the community seem to him like a personal affront. Nadia Tereszkiewicz also performs very well in the titular role, conveying a façade of optimism masking deep fears of being made an outcast.

Rosalie may be a little by-the-books for a film about difference and acceptance, but its engaging performances and character depth still make for a worthwhile, captivating watch.

Eve Martin, 25

Eve is a Theatre Design graduate and now works as a freelance film and TV Art Director. Her work can be seen at

Eve says...

Set in an anonymous village in 19th century France, Rosalie uses a period setting to explore issues that feel startlingly relevant to a modern audience. Led by two strong performances, the film uses Rosalie and her non-conformity to examine the role herd mentality plays in how we judge one another. Some of the supporting characters can feel a little two-dimensional as the film rattles through this thought experiment, but the central questions are explored with depth and sensitivity. Starting with challenging our prejudices about gender presentation and beauty, Rosalie goes on to question how we might be complicit in fetishising those who differ from us – even under the guise of acceptance.

Stylistically, the central conceit walks a delicate line between folklore and surprisingly gritty reality, as the cause of Rosalie's apparently fantastical condition turns out to be all-too-human - with very personal consequences for her. Some well-constructed dream sequences and a visual throughline with the local hunt help to set this tone. The film does occasionally miss the mark in the balance between showing and telling, but don't let this put you off: Rosalie is beautifully crafted, and rich in food for thought.

Dina Scali, 20

Dina is a London-based undergraduate law student with a passion for film and the performing arts.

Dina says...

Stéphanie Di Giusto's period drama tells a story of acceptance, focusing on the reaction of a traditional village towards a bearded woman. I was moved by Nadia Tereszkiewicz's striking adoption of Rosalie's passionate spirit as she basks in her natural femininity, despite its offensiveness to her community.

The ugliness of the prejudice and ignorance Rosalie faces is refreshingly juxtaposed with the idyllic natural scenery she escapes to. Images of vibrant foliage and a flowing river contribute to a pleasant viewing experience, both visually and sensually.

Rosalie is also about love and its struggles, movingly captured in the interactions between Rosalie and her husband, whose marriage to Rosalie means he must learn to accept his wife's appearance. This process is not without its turmoil, and the evolution and consequences of the tension between the two is explored throughout.

The film may be set in 19th century rural France, but the message of a woman liberating her body from the standards imposed upon her by society rings no less true today as it ever has done.

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