When New York lawyer, Ronnie Russo, gets a surprise call from his childhood best friend with a dying wish, he apprehensively returns to the formerly beat-up Boston neighborhood of Roslindale for the first time in 25 years. On their last night together when they were both 12, after their final Little League baseball game together, Joey had proved how far he would go to protect him when Joey’s drunken father attacked them both. They haven't spoken since.
With a critical deadline looming in New York, Ronnie must decide whether to stand by his damaged old friend and help him reconnect with his estranged son or move on forever and not look back. But first, Ronnie must come to terms with the truth of that last night in Rozzie many years ago.
The story of Last Night in Rozzie begins 25 years ago, when 12-year-old Joey Donovan accidentally kills his violent and abusive father in front of his best friend, Ronnie Russo. It’s a traumatic moment in the lives of these two kids and it sets them on radically different paths. Ronnie escapes when his mother moves him out of town. Joey ends up in youth detention and, without any support, succumbs to the same addictions of his father. I love the contrast presented by these two characters because though they appear to be opposites, one successful and the other a failure, their inner conflict is the same; both of their lives are dominated by an unresolved past.
While this seems like a story of “tragedy that happens to other people,” the way these characters react to their pain is universal. In Joey’s case, he soothes pain with liquor, rage, and abuse. Ronnie, on the other hand, has been avoiding the truth of what happened for years. Though he’s successful by outward measures, it’s clear he’s wounded. That’s why, after all this time of separation, Ronnie comes back to Roslindale to settle an unconscious debt he owes his former best friend.
The action is driven by Ronnie’s journey to grant Joey his dying wish. But the biggest obstacle he faces is that the truth of Joey’s past is even worse than what he expected. How can Ronnie stand by a friend who abused and endangered his own family? It isn’t until Ronnie looks inward that he realizes abandoning Joey made him complicit in Joey’s destructive history.
I want the experience of this film to be engrossing, unsettling, and ultimately bittersweet. The feeling that even though you can’t change the past, you can make the best choices for the present. Just as Ronnie is regaining intimacy and rediscovering a life he escaped, so too will the audience feel connected to these characters… only to be shocked by what lies beyond first impressions. I believe this film will resonate deeply with audiences because the emotions are honest, the desires are captivating, and the conclusions are authentic. — Sean