On paper, the underdog story of a young Glaswegian mother recently paroled from prison and who dreams of becoming a country music star in Nashville sounds a bit hackneyed. But don’t fret: this seemingly well-worn rags-to-riches tale has surprises up its sleeve, and ends up as a warm hug of a film that’ll beautifully pluck your heartstrings.
In a star-making performance, Jessie Buckley is a note-perfect revelation: she plays Rose-Lynn as both a wild ball of untamed energy and touching lost soul, who struggles to balance her passion with her responsibilities. When she is faced with her mother (Julie Walters), who takes care of the family Rose-Lynn can’t assume the responsibility for, Buckley brilliantly shows flashes of burrowed guilt edging closer and closer to the surface.
Crucial to the dramatic integrity of Wild Rose is the way director Tom Harper never forgets to balance the sunny energy of the live musical numbers – Buckley sings every note herself, proving there really isn’t much she can’t do – with the harshness of the character’s reality and the reminder of her reluctant motherhood. The soundtrack is a triumph in and of itself, and brilliantly complements themes dealing with the strength you didn’t know a family could give you, as well as the complexities inherent to balancing dreams with reality.
Don’t miss our interview with director Tom Harper!
Wild Rose | Directed by Tom Harper (UK, 2018), with Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo. Starts Dec 12.
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