Wild Rose (2018) Directed by Tom Harper. With Jessie Buckley and Julie Walters.
There is no brighter diamond in more ragged rough than Jessie Buckley in ‘Wild Rose’, Tom Harper’s heart-on-sleeve drama about a troubled Glaswegian country singer (don’t say ‘& western’) with big dreams of Nashville. Buckley catapults every fiber of her being into her performance as she conjures real ‘x-factor’ stage dominance (and composure) in a demonstration of raw ability that will undoubtedly graduate her from the dual Olivia Colman schools of look-at-how-far-she’s-come and is-she-in-everything!?
While it lacks a certain conviction towards the end (you never get the feeling it won’t try to crowd-please), the meat & veg of the film possesses a grit to convey the struggle and turmoil with some success. Buckley is well supported by the ever-sturdy presence of Julie Walters as her long-suffering mother.
The film covers the complications of balancing dreams and responsibilities and the inherent selfishness required to be part of an industry that demands sacrifices. The sacrifices at the altar for a rock n’ roll life are Rose-Lynn’s two neglected young children. This represents an emotional tug-of-war that sits at the heart of the film.
On the poster, rocking out in a white leather jacket, Buckley looks like a flame-haired Axl Rose from the Guns N’ Roses ‘Paradise City’ music video. In the movie she is surgically attached to her white cowboy boots. They represent a significant part of her identity. In one revealing scene she likens her Scottish origins and love for the USA and its country music to a person with gender dysphoria.
While the corny moments feel like they belong in another movie, the strength of Jessie Buckley’s star turn is more than enough to see it through. She encapsulates the essence of raw talent with a sincerity that is frequently startling. The movie is one to watch and so is Buckley.