A musician from Glasgow dreams of becoming a Nashville star.
‘Wild Rose’ is a film about chasing your dreams, about the sacrifices you need to make to achieve those dreams, but most impressively, it’s about the toll those sacrifices take on you and the people surrounding you. This is a really terrific film, set in Glasgow, about the rebellious Rose-Lynn Harlan, an aspiring country singer (not country & western!) who has just been released from a stint in prison and is trying to rebuild her life, reconnect with her two young children and still chase her dream. Upon her release she manages to find a job cleaning for a well off family (led by Sophie Okonedo’s Susannah) and her mother (Julie Walters) finds a home for her to move into with her two children, but the lure of country singing and Nashville draws her back in and before long she’s back performing at Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry and chasing dreams to the detriment of those surrounding her.
It’s to the films credit that it’s willing to make Rose-Lynn such a complex figure – she’s a character we’re rooting for but she’s also selfish, obnoxious and a terrible mother. Testament to this superbly drawn character is Jessie Buckley, who is a true revelation in the role and almost unrecognisable from an equally impressive turn in last year’s ‘Beast’. She made her name on the TV talent show ‘I’d Do Anything’ which set out to find a new musical theatre star, so it’s no surprise that she excels at the performing elements which really spark into life, but she is equally brilliant at getting inside the head of Rose-Lynn and selling the conflict between the life she has and the life she wants. The script is always interesting and doesn’t always follow the obvious path, yet the destination feels true to the characters we’ve spent time with. Julie Walters is a national treasure and this is a great role for her, her best since perhaps even ‘Billy Elliot’ or at least ‘Brooklyn’ and there’s a scene between her and Buckley where they discuss dreams lost and lingering and how their lives have turned out which is utterly captivating.
‘Wild Rose’ makes great use of its Glasgow locations and some familiar faces pop up in small roles, and the use of music throughout is on point, but the biggest selling point for this film is Jessie Buckley in one of the year’s best performances so far. She completely envelops the character of Rose-Lynn, faults and all, and she surely has a massive future ahead of her. Over the course of the film Rose-Lynn learns a little more about herself and maybe, just maybe, that you have to follow your dreams to realise what truly matters in life and ‘Wild Rose’ is a great demonstration of that. This is a brilliant film and it’s great to see a Scottish set film succeed so admirably.
Directed By: Tom Harper
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo, Jamie Sives and Craig Parkinson