Title – Wild Rose (2018)
Director – Tom Harper (The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death)
Cast – Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo
Plot – Recently released from prison, Rose-Lynn (Buckley) is a wild Glaswegian local whose shot at redemption may come from her love of country music and dream to be a Nashville star.
“I should have been born in America”
Review by Eddie on 26/09/2019
A few times a year if we are lucky, we get to witness a star making performance from an actor/actress that sets the foundation for their rise up the cinematic ranks and for 2019 one of these turns is Jessie Buckley as fiery Glaswegian country singer/ex-prison inmate Rose-Lynn in English drama Wild Rose.
Making her mark in the independent critical hit Beast and appearing in renowned TV shows/mini-series such as War and Peace, Taboo and Chernobyl, Buckley has proven herself to be a solid presence in times past, but her fully committed and memorable turn in Tom Harper’s familiar but enjoyable ride is an astounding piece of work that will see Buckley’s reputation in the industry sky rocket on the back of this star-making vehicle.
Wild Rose as a film feels like a hybrid of any other redemption/against the odds character study type tale but with Buckley embedding the fiery and even at times downright unlikeable Rose-Lynn with a seriously impressive verve and energy, it’s hard not to be up for the tale of a simple yet determined Glasgow native trying to crack Nashville and the country music scene with nothing more than a can do attitude too set her on her way.
It helps that Buckley is a talented songstress, with Wild Rose providing Buckley with more than a few moments to showcase a seriously impressive vocal range, that is highlighted in an emotionally charged scene where Rose-Lynn sings in front of a computer for an audition or at another moment to an empty auditorium in Nashville and with Wild Rose’s collection of original and toe-tapping tunes at the forefront of proceedings, those that love their movies with a killer soundtrack and musical vibe will be having the time of their lives with this sleeper hit.
With Buckley knocking it out of the park and Harper showing some neat directional tricks (an extended scene where Rose-Lynn vacuums and dances her way through an up market house is a visual delight), it’s a shame Wild Rose’s predictable and rather twee story couldn’t of pulled off more surprises for a character that deserved to be a part of a film that wasn’t so cookie-cutter in more ways than it is here.
The film is no doubt Buckley’s but outside of Rose-Lynn there’s nothing else to see here character wise with the film failing to capitalise on its asset of Julie Walters as Rose’s long suffering mother Marion, while the other main cast member in the form of Sophie Okonedo’s wealthy but kind-hearted Susannah is so generic and unbelievable that you’d think she walked in from another film.
It’s always risky for a film of this nature to forgo the rulebook too much, with these stories of good-natured souls overcoming setbacks too reach their goals first and foremost needing to please their audiences with the right emotional feels but you can’t help but escape the feeling Harper’s film fails to capitalise on an out and out masterful lead performance and character so loaded with flair as it instead plays it relatively safe on a tale you will enjoy but not remember outside of its central performance.
Final Say –
Filled with great songs and a genuinely tremendous lead turn from its star actress, Wild Rose is solid stuff but arguably not the film it could’ve been had it taken more risks.
3 lost handbags out of 5
It’s a lot of fun! Buckley is a star.