Wild Rose tells the tale of Glaswegian Rose-Lynn who has recently been released from prison and is hell bent on making it as a country music star. With her sights set on Nashville, Rose-Lynn (played by Irish star on the rise Jessie Buckley) has a lot standing in her way, including a criminal record, a lack of income and two young children, with whom she has a complicated relationship.
From the opening we are introduced to the wild ways of our protagonist. Upon her exit from prison, her priorities are made clear, as she makes a beeline for her boyfriend in a brief, but steamy encounter. We are then somewhat surprised to discover that Rose-Lynn is the mother of two children; one of whom is reluctant to embrace her mother upon her return, indicating the deep discontent between mother and daughter. Rose-Lynn’s children have been living with her mother (beautifully played by the powerhouse that is Julie Walters), and it is clear their relationship, too, is a tense and complex one.
This is a story of redemption, and the value one attributes to family. The reality is that Rose-Lynn is largely unlikable during the piece. Perhaps the mark of a talented actress in Buckley, we get frustrated by her behaviours, and ultimately don’t necessarily want her to succeed in her quest for country music stardom. That being said, it is worth persevering with Wild Rose, because the last fifteen minutes fills you with a sense of satisfaction.
The two shining lights of the film is most definitely Walters and the music. Walters as Rose’s long suffering mother is sublime. The subtly, yet heart wrenching nature of her performance is a standout. Equally, the songs – all Nashville-inspired country tunes – are fantastic. When Buckley sings, she soars. Her vocal performances are sublime; both tender and engaging. When she – as Rose-Lynn – sings, it is impossible not to be mesmerised.
Yes, there are some plot holes which makes the audience somewhat dubious, and yes, the central character may make us want burst through the screen and shake her at times, but ultimately, Wild Rose is a heart-warming piece of British cinema; one that would particularly appeal to those with a love of the country classics.
By Rachel Gould