USA | 2019 | 100 mins | Cert 15
Fresh out of prison, a Scottish woman juggles her job and two children while pursuing her dream of becoming a country music star. She soon gets her chance when she travels to Nashville, Tennessee, on a life-changing journey to discover her true voice. Starring Jessie Buckley and Julie Walters, Wild Rose is the stuff of classic country tunes, a tale of heartache, 'honky-tonkin’ and hard-won redemption. It’s also the stuff of every movie about an underdog who dreams of music stardom, with its hardscrabble origins, a raw talent, inner demons and a final triumph upon a glittering stage.
Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley) is an ex-con and a wannabe country singer from a Glasgow housing estate. Clashing with her mother (Julie Walters), can she reconcile reality and mundanity as a mum with dreams of reaching Nashville? After last year’s feature film debut in the bleak psychological thriller Beast, there is little doubt that Jessie Buckley is more than just another new actor with star potential. She is the real deal, capable of a depth of dramatic delivery that actors stretch their entire careers for. Buckley is Rose-Lynn, a gobby, impulsive, working-class country singer from Glasgow, who we meet in the hours before being released from prison, white plastic tag tightly gripping the ankle beneath her white cowboy boots. “You’re gonna be the next Dolly Parton,” shouts another prisoner gleefully as Rose-Lynn leaves, fist-raised, for what may or may not be the last time, her dreams of a life in Nashville seeming nigh-on impossible. But just when you’re sure of foot, you’re tipped off-balance with narrative pivots that transform the film from heart-warming Brit flick to something with considerably more bite and substance. The film puts an elbow into the hot waters of motherhood, of female sacrifice, of what becomes of our sense of self and right to personal nourishment. There, the film — and specifically a beautifully paired Walters and Buckley — shines, swelling around the issues it kneads without hitting upon any easy answers. For the journey, it turns out, is not one of the 3,900 miles from Glasgow to Nashville, but the distance between a mother and daughter, and for Rose-Lynn, the journey to find herself. Empire on-line Terri White. 8th April 2019