Wild Rose tells the story of Rose-Lynn, a 23-year-old single mother of two who dreams big. Rose has always wanted to be a famous country singer and it seems she will stop at nothing to follow her dream. But after a twelve-month stint in prison, she must face the brutal reality of starting afresh on the hard streets of Glasgow. She must decide where her true focus should be. Can she redeem herself and be the good mother that her children wish for? Or does walk away from all of those responsibilities to pursue her own needs?
There have been many films about young aspiring musicians that make it big. However, one set in Glasgow about an aspiring country singer gives Wild Rose a fresh edge. At first glance, this film seems very formulaic, like a British version of the Oscar-winning A Star is Born. But the brutal realism that comes across in the delivery certainly succeeds in making Wild Rose very different in many ways.
Director, Tom Harper is best known as a TV director and it shows. Without being too harsh, the whole film feels like it is a TV production. There are very few scenes that succeed in having a classic cinematic feel. However, the script from Nicole Taylor is great and delivers many challenges. Plus a few surprising turns.
Redeeming the film are the amazing performances from the lead cast members. Jessie Buckley is incredible as Rose, who also played the complex character, Moll, in the film Beast. She was outstanding in that film, but this performance really displays here amazing versatility. On top of that, she has an incredible voice. The other big stand out is Julie Walters, who plays Rose's Mum and delivers a beautifully heartfelt but powerful performance. Aside from those two, the rest of the cast give quite pedestrian performances. So, Wild Rose would have been very different if Jessie Buckley and Julie Walters did not carry this film.
But what if you don't like country music? While Jessie Buckley's voice is amazing, it was a bit of a challenge. On top of that, there are some thoroughly unlikeable characters who present some very questionable moments. Overall though, Wild Rose is well worth watching. If you are a fan of country music, you will love the soundtrack. Plus, the raw talent that is Jessie Buckley is something that really places this film into the must-watch category. I have to say that I wanted to score this film higher, but the camera work and overall style of the film let it down.