Wild Rose review: Jessie Buckley shines in this warm and caring drama about life, music and responsibility.

Wild Rose review
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Wild Rose review

If you happened to catch last year’s Beast or the latest adaptation of War and Peace, then you will already be familiar with the talents of Jessie Buckley. The Irish actress and singer has displayed a great deal of range in her early roles, very much stealing scenes where she can with a captivating energy. With Wild Rose, Buckley takes centre stage and there is no denying that this film and her performance has all the makings of a calling card that is bound to propel Buckley up the A-list.

Buckley plays the spirited Rose-Lynn, a Scottish country singer with dreams of making it big and going to Nashville, the Holy Land of country music. There’s just the little matter of reality getting in the way. Having just been released from prison and with two young children to care for, Rose-Lynn struggles to face the facts that the script to her life may not have room for her dreams and ambitions.

The struggle that takes place at the centre of Wild Rose is one very much spearheaded by Rose-Lynn’s own sense of determination and her own self-destructiveness. Both her ambitions as a country singer and her relationship with her children is affected by her hot-headedness, with her time in jail for violent behaviour putting a pause on her career and position as a mother.

Buckley plays this volatile personality with a great deal of spirit. She’s not afraid to let Rose-Lynn’s more un-likeable qualities come to the fore, balancing them with a sense of naivete that always ensures Rose-Lynn is a sympathetic figure. Her ambition may get in the way of her being a dependable mother, but part of her journey comes from seeing attempting, sometimes failing, but always trying to find a balance that allows her to thrive as both a mother and a country singer.

It helps that as a performer, she is absolute joyous. Buckley is a great musical talent, leading the way with many toe-tapping country songs. A large part of our investment in Rose-Lynn comes from the fact that she is genuinely talented and we could very well believe that she is someone who could make it should the opportunity arise.

The film mixes A Star Is Born elements of a promising musical star with more kitchen drama elements, with Rose-Lynn’s musical career being encouraged by the wealthy woman she cleans for (the charming Sophie Okonedo), while her mother (Julie Walters) tries to get Rose-Lynn to focus on being a mother. Walters is, of course, fantastic, adding a great deal of authenticity to the proceedings as a mother who simply wants to see her daughter step up to her responsibilities, but also doesn’t want to crush her dreams.

There will be no prizes for guessing how the drama in this film folds out. Wild Rose tells a well-tread story with a great deal of personality. It has an incredibly charming spirit to it that it is very hard to resist. The characters are relatable, the conflicts tense, and the winning moments are heart-soaring. It is a comforting and lovable tale led by a truly star-making from Jessie Buckley. An absolute delight.

Wild Rose review by Andrew Gaudion, April 2019.

Wild Rose is released in cinemas on Friday 12th April 2019.

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Wild Rose