Film Review: “Wild Rose” colours within the lines, though Jesse Buckley Is spectacular
A film sister of sorts to the recent A Star is Born, Wild Rose similarly tells the story of the rise of a young female pop star (well, country singer in this case).
Getting right to it, if you’re a cheap date for this kind of story (c’mon, we’re all cheap dates for one kind of story or another), then you’ll be pleased to know that Wild Rose is better than most. Jesse Buckley as the titular wild rose, Rose-Lynn, is an astoundingly charismatic presence, and it’s such a shame she probably won’t garner near the acclaim that Lady Gaga did. The soundtrack is excellent, and I can’t count myself as a fan of country music.
There are a few interesting narrative and stylistic flourishes that keep the fairly rote and formulaic plot from becoming boring, too. Rose-Lynn faces an interesting problem in that while there’s no doubt she’s got the talent to make it, her responsibilities to her kids she never really wanted, the fact that she’s fresh out of jail for a stupid mistake, are not easily solved obstacles to her achieving her dreams. The weight of her responsibilities are so felt that you’re left wondering whether her dreams are even worth it.
Director Tom Harper does a fine job of making this rags-to-riches narrative feel authentic and unhurried, and he brings out convincing performances from all involved. The grime-y Glasgow setting provides quite a bit of personality and grit to the harsh terrain the feisty and scrappy Rose-Lynn must navigate, physically and emotionally. So we truly feel her disorientation and sense of wonder when she makes it to her personal Mecca of sorts, Nashville in Tennessee.
Suffice it to say that Wild Rose is well worth your time. It wrings quite a bit of drama and genuine emotional complexity from its stock premise, and all involved have worked hard to craft something genuinely moving.