STARRING: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo, Jamie Sives, Craig Parkinson, James Harkness, Janey Godley, Daisy Littlefeld, Adam Mitchell, Ryan Kerr and Nicole Kerr
Wild Rose tells the complicated story of Rose-Lynn, a woman on a quest to become a country music star, while also grappling with the responsibilities of being recently released from prison and a young mother of two children.
Wild Rose is a musical drama written by Nicole Taylor and directed by Tom Harper that focuses on Rose-Lynn Harlan, an aspiring country singer and single mother of two from Glasgow that’s just free from doing a twelve-month sentence in prison for attempted drug smuggling. As her mother Marion encourages her to give up her dream of becoming a musician and going to Nashville to focus on a more steady career and taking care of her children, but a wealthy local woman that she works as a housekeeper for, Susannah, looks to help her achieve her dreams by getting in contact with a BBC Radio presenter, all the while she’s not aware of Rose-Lynn’s criminal record or the fact that she has children.
I heard alot of good things settling down to view Wild Rose and while I didn’t love it as much as some people did, it’s still a decent film. Primarily that’s down to the lead performance from Jessie Buckley, whose a force of nature whenever we first see her leaving the prison to attempting to get her old job back at the Grand Ole Opry, then proceeds to lash out when she discovers that’s been taking away from her. Rose-Lynn is boisterous yet there’s a certain measurement of self-doubt that leads her down a path of recklessness from time-to-time as she talks a good game of going to Nashville, but there’s a vulnerability to her as she’s confused about how to achieve her destiny and, if that fails, what’s her purpose then? Buckley is surrounded by a solid ensemble as well, with Julie Walters giving a good performance as Rose-Lynn’s mother Marion, who scolds her daughter for the neglect of her children to chase a dream that may never be fulfilled and Sophie Okonedo is gives a good performance as Susannah.
While I like Tom Harper’s Ken Loach-like approach to directing this film, unfortunately the story didn’t connect for me as much as I was hoping, it felt a bit formulaic and outside of Buckley and Walters, no one really gets a chance to shine (even Okonedo). Narratively the film takes a turn in the final act to become a crowd-pleaser which may or may not work for some film viewers.
With some solid direction from Tom Harper and a blistering performance by Jessie Buckley, it’s a shame that the story itself was the aspect that I couldn’t connect with.