Does a Glaswegian country singer sound odd to you? Well Wild Rose proves that everybody has a dream. Jessie Buckley from 2017's Beast, makes her breakthrough performance as the larger than life Rose-Lynn Harlan. Writer Nichole Taylor and director Thomas Harper create a Scottish variation in the footsteps of the classic A Star is Born story line. Wild Rose sees a plucky young musician dream of leaving her seat beat life and becoming a Nashville star.
This raw and honest tale of motherhood is pitch perfect. Jessie Buckley is an absolute sensation as a naive, reckless and self-centred young woman who must comes to terms with the responsibility of parenthood. Wild Rose poetically demonstrates the sacrifices that a single mother must make, whilst at the same time examining the reality of our hopes and dreams. Buckley encapsulates the difficulty of balancing these two things - we feel the crushing blow of her children's resentment for the countless times she's pushed them aside. Higher up the family tree is Julie Waters as Rose-Lynn's mother Marion - she also fights the same battle but with more experience and battle scars, we feel the emotional weight in one particular scene where Waters must leave the struggling Buckley on her own for the first time since her prison release. You can see the pain in Waters eyes, as the sound of crying grandchildren is cut out by the closing front door.
Wild Rose paints the harsh realities of adult life by day through washed out cinematography in contrast to the glow of saturated stage lights and thick tartan by night. Harper delicately paints the lives that Rose-Lynn hopes for along side the one she's stuck with, as Wild Rose asks her which she believes is most important. Buckley takes our breath away the first time we hear her sing, with lens glare and sunshine memorably creating a silhouette behind her - every aspect of the film's aesthetic feels fittingly natural and homegrown.
Wild Rose is near perfect, however it does seem to go on a tad too long. There are multiple points the film can end but it chooses not to, and as a result whilst the conclusion is still impactful it isn't as polished as the film really deserves. Whist that might seem little churlish, at the end of the day Harper has created a hidden gem of real honesty and beauty.
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Hi I’m James - a huge welcome to my film blog! I started this site just after my 14th birthday and have been bringing you my own take on the hottest box office arrivals and many art house triumphs ever since.