Country music, cowboy boots and a big heart: these are the ingredients of Wild Rose, a story telling the adventures of the tender and thorny Rose-Lynn, a Glaswegian ball of fire trying her best to rocket through life and chase what she thinks is her destiny.
The film opens on the lively Rose-Lynn enthusiastically getting out of jail. She feels it, the world awaits: from the cell to the stage, Rose-Lynn well intends to go and sail away from her native Scotland to Nashville, the only coveted promise land where amateurs become legends. She has got plans but reality gets in the way and rapidly, the downsides and responsibilities brought by adulthood, especially motherhood, crashes into her in waves. Her challenges include reconnecting with the family she left behind: her two young and disappointed children along with Marion, her disenchanted mother (played by an incredibly touching Julie Walters). It is finally in her new employer, the sympathetic Susannah (Sophie Okonedo), that Rose-Lynn finds an ear sensible to her talent but also a helping hand. The dream could be within reach, after all.
Brought to us by War & Peace director Tom Harper and screenwriter Nicole Taylor, Wild Rose is a delightful breath of fresh air that surprises. As the plot unfolds, we are tricked into thinking Wild Rose is just another cliché, classic and unrealistic success story when in truth, it is a fable about humans dealing with their humanity. The film warmly reveals a captivating main character who is far from being perfect, who makes her fair share of mistakes yet passes on optimism, shows bravery and great determination.
If Wild Rose stirs up emotions, it is above all thanks to Jessie Buckley’s generous and terrific performance. She is astonishing and hypnotising as she not only impresses with her singing skills but also proves to give Rose-Lynn real stage presence. Buckley doesn’t just sing, she glows and conveys the magnetic energy of a true star and thus, shines bright and loud through the screen.
To no one’s surprise, what’s compelling about Wild Rose is undoubtedly the omnipresent and rhythmically exquisite music, thanks to a score composed by Jack Arnold. We jump from one country song to another and each of them sports lyrics matching the current atmosphere, allowing to follow the lead’s state of mind effortlessly. Everything she feels is translated in catchy melodies that rock us smoothly through the film. Some of them are deeply moving, others are exciting and call for us to roll up our sleeves. Overall, you will leave the cinema with a smile on your face and a raging desire to take the world by storm.
From a tiny timid bud, Wild Rose grows, blooms and displays the radiant colours of its delicate emotions and wisdom, offering a reflection on the hardships of handling ambition healthily in our pursuit of dreams and happiness.
by Marie-Célia Cannenpasse
Marie-Célia is from a French Caribbean island, and currently studying applied foreign languages at Sorbonne University in Paris, whilst taking filmmaking courses online. She enjoys listening to soundtracks curled up under a comfy duvet on rainy days, gushing about Kate Winslet or Christian Bale on a daily basis, and crying over the BBC’s adaptation of War and Peace. Her favourite films include Gone with the wind, Super 8, Call me by your name and The Prestige. You can find her on Twittter @MCeliaCR and on letterboxd too @MCeliaCR.