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Wild Rose review - kick-ass girls and country music: what’s not to love?


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Verdict: Jessie Buckley and Julie Walters shine in a heartfelt story about country music and motherhood.

Image Credit: Entertainment One

From director Tom Harper comes a refreshing and surprisingly moving story about a young woman in relentless pursuit of her dream. In a cinematic world where far too often we see the protagonist as male, and it’s often the men who get the great hero’s journey, we are introduced to Rose-Lynn Harlan. She is 24 years old, fresh-faced and fresh out of a year in prison, with two young children she needs to support. Despite being more than a bit chaotic and disorganised, she's bright, charismatic, and bursting with talent and passion for country music.

Her greatest desire is to get out of Glasgow so she can get to Nashville. This is where she believes she’ll become the country superstar she is meant to be, and where her destiny truly lies.

Julie Walters offers a great reality check in the role of Rose-Lynn’s mother Marion. She loves her daughter dearly, but wants her to grow up and take responsibility for her and her children. However, when a chance encounter at her job as a cleaner offers Rose-Lynn a chance at her dream, she is left to make an impossible choice.

Julie Walters absolutely shines in her role as Marion, bringing a soft edge to her performance. It's a performance that might take you by surprise, even from an actor who plays characters that are often warm and loving. She makes us understand that although she does not want to crush her daughter’s dream, she wants her grandchildren to have a stable parent around - not one that ditches her children once she gets a better offer.

Image Credit: Entertainment One

Jessie Buckley is absolutely incredible in her role as Rose-Lynn. She plays a character that can be sometimes unloveable in such an endearing and heartfelt way that you cannot help but cheer for her, even if she makes the same terrible mistakes time and time again. In Rose-Lynn we see a real battle between two conflicting desires: of being a mother, and of having big country music dreams. Do these two roles have any place besides each other? Can they coexist? Or does one need to be sacrificed for the other in order for anyone to have peace?

This is a problem that too often we fail to see in film, because the story so often centres on a male protagonist. It’s refreshing to see a real-world struggle being depicted so honestly within cinema. Often in the real world, women are forced to sacrifice their own ambitions and dreams once they have children. Men never seem to face this choice, or any of the subsequent guilt that follows. The film gives a refreshing and honest take on this subject, not only from the perspective of Rose-Lynn but from her mother’s point of view too.

And while the film is undoubtedly a love story between mother and daughter, the other great love in Rose-Lynn’s life - country music - gives us some of the high points of the film. Filled with songs, references and jokes all about country music, the film’s soundtrack is rich and vibrant and gives a real Nashville feel despite the film being set in Glasgow. Despite not being a country music fan before seeing this film, leaving the cinema I had the strangest desire to find a country radio station. It’s that kind of charisma that shines within both Rose-Lynn’s character and the film itself. For fans of Lady Bird and Fighting With My Family, this is one film you won’t want to miss

Wild Rose is in cinemas April 12.

Lead image courtesy of Entertainment One

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