After being released from jail Rose-Lynn Harlan dreams of becoming a Country singer. The problem in Rose-Lynn’s mind is that she lives in Glasgow, and is kept there by her two young children, rather than Nashville so she’ll never be able to make it.
I have to admit that I’m a little biased towards Wild Rose because my family is from Glasgow, and so to see it celebrated in ultimately such a positive way by screenwriter Nicole Taylor is such a beautiful thing to see. Because at its core Wild Rose is a film about this woman finding her sense of belonging in her hometown. It is very clear that is where the film is headed for much of the film, but until Rose-Lynn comes to realise that her desire to go out to Nashville is in great conflict with her need to raise her children, something that leads to a number of clashes with her mother Marion.
And Jessie Buckley is an absolute revelation as Rose-Lynn. She had her breakthrough in film in last year’s Beast, and if anyone had any doubt about her talent they can’t now. Not only does she deliver an incredible, powerhouse performance, but she also displays a fabulous singing voice throughout, performing almost all the songs that appear in the film. As both an actress and a musician she absolutely commands the screen, elevating even the cheesier moments of the film to greatness. If Beast heralded the coming of a new star, then Wild Rose absolutely confirms it.
Buckley not only plays all the joy, heartbreak and comedy of the film perfectly, but her chemistry with Julie Walter, who plays her mother, and Sophie Okonedo, whose house Rose-Lynn cleans, is electric. In particular the scenes between Buckley and Walters are so powerful, some of the best scenes you will see on screen all year, as they bring Taylor’s sharp dialogue to life.
Truly Wild Rose is a joyous cinematic experience, this is a film that I hope people will search out because it is truly a sensational piece of Scottish cinema with some incredible performances that manages to be both heartbreaking and uplifting.