Drenched in realism, unconventional turns and a wee belter in its leading lady, Jessie Buckley. Just rip the lyrics out of the heart of this film and you’d be on to a country winner.
Is it a path worth taking? That country road to stardom, to live out your dreams with no regard to the life you’ve reluctantly been lumbered with? Director Tom Harper open’s up that long winding road with less glitz than A Star is Born and drenched this story in realism, unconventional turns and a wee belter in its leading lady, Jessie Buckley.
Rising star Buckley plays Rose-Lynn, a young Scottish girl with big dreams of becoming a country singer. Having just been released from prison, her biggest obstacles in taking that long-lived dream of heading to Nashville is a lack of cash and the two young children she spawned before the age of 18. Just to show her total lack of care for her children, the first thing she does on leaving prison is to seek out a male friend for her own gratification before heading to her Mother’s (Julie Walters) home – where her children have been staying while she has been inside – to see her family.
The story has vied away from the trappings of the middle-class girl who is lucky enough to have everything handed to her on a plate in the pursuit of her dreams. It hits the nitty-gritty of reality on the poor street of poverty. Rose-Lynn is the selfish kind of character you would expect to see on an episode of Jeremy Kyle for her troubled past and child neglect. That middle-class plot point isn’t totally redundant as Rose-Lynn gets herself a job as a daily woman – or cleaner whatever you want to call it – working for a well-to-do couple headed by Susannah (Sophie Okonedo).
Susannah makes Rose-Lynn her project after hearing her sing, putting up the funds to make a trip to London as well convincing her friends to donate money instead of buying her gifts for her birthday but Rose-Lynn leads Susannah through a false pretence by keeping her past, her tag and her children a secret.
Whilst her Mother does try to inject a sense of responsibility into Rose-Lynn, she does eventually make it to Nashville. Making a tour around the bars trying to get a gig isn’t as easy as she expected, but she does get to perform on the same stage as where Johnny Cash and June Carter first met during a tour of the Ryman Auditorium. Just as you think, OK we all know where this is going to lead, she gets her big discovery and that’s the end of the film, Rose-Lynn takes a refreshingly and surprisingly different path.
There’s a certain satisfaction this picture gives, not one that we come to expect all that often. It has a tendency to lead you down one route only to change its direction. It comes to a certain maturity, as the film comes of age; Buckley’s Rose-Lynn does too. Buckley is staggeringly brilliant, cheeky, and feisty with no regard to anyone or anything around her. She’s the kind of character you would expect to have nothing but disdain for but she has an emotional core just dying to burst out of her tough exterior, one that’s really rather endearing, not to mention the voice that bellows from deep within her soul. If there was ever a hit country song to be made, just rip the lyrics out of the heart of this film and you’d be on to a winner.
Wild Rose is out in cinemas April 12th