Spanish comedy Rosa’s Wedding from director Icíar Bollaín is the sweet treat of the Glasgow Film Festival. Rosa (Candela Peña) is living her life for other people, under-appreciated in her job as a seamstress when she’s not being her family’s nominated errand-runner. An opening dream sequence literally plants Rosa in the middle of a marathon, surrounded by an unsupportive, commanding family as the film’s lens looms around her personal space. In a chaotic first half of the film, Rosa darts from one place to another, speaking in a jumble of Spanish and Catalan, with her existence in Valencia clearly a cluttered one.
To combat her midlife crisis, Rosa decides to ‘push the nuclear button’ and abandon Valencia to go back to her childhood sanctuary, Benicàssim, to reopen her late mother’s dress shop. In her newfound flow of self-love, Rosa permanently commits to this awakening and chooses to ‘marry herself’. She plans to have an intimate ceremony with her closest family to symbolise her recent independence. The audience roots for Rosa throughout as she stitches her life back together, thanks to Peña’s warm and inviting performance, seamlessly transforming from a stressed, worn-out Rosa to a calmer, elated version of herself in her honeymoon phase.
In its entirety, the film is an unusual concept that is still somehow fitting for a romantic comedy, albeit perhaps a bit too on the nose. Beneath Rosa’s endless positivity and charm, this is a character going to great lengths to revel in her own individuality. Rosa’s obstacles form a generational awareness of a woman’s difficulty in balancing her responsibilities. Rosa’s own daughter, Lidia (Paula Usero), is noticeably savvy in comparison to her mother when it comes to her own partner and children. Rosa’s siblings, Armando (Sergi López) and Violeta (Nathalie Poza) are delightfully frustrating, being so wrapped up in their own broken relationships so as to nail a simultaneously bossy but distant demeanour. The subtext of family conflict avoids a default resolution of vowing to be a better family unit; Rosa moves forward with her vow to love herself, removing familial obligations while still being the emotional crux they need. Rosa’s Wedding is a self-care movie brimming with hope, that couldn’t have arrived at a better time.
Screening as part of Glasgow Film Festival 2021