SATURDAY 13 NOVEMBER
Doors: 7.30pm Film: 8pm
WILD ROSE tells the complicated story of Rose-Lynn, a woman on a quest to become a country music star, while also grappling with the responsibilities of being recently released from prison and a young mother of two children.
This film is a charmer, but it doesn't charm at the expense of intelligence or depth. It marries its populist appeal to thoughtful social commentary becoming one of the high-points of 2019 cinema.
With Jessie Buckley's performance in Wild Rose, a star is born.
There’s a marvellous singing turn from Jessie Buckley in this movie from screenwriter Nicole Taylor and director Tom Harper about a talented young country singer and ex-convict from Glasgow called Rose-Lynn, desperate to make it to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. But how is she going to find money for the air fare? And who is going to look after her kids?
Buckley had already showed audiences what a great actor she is with her performance as Maria Bolkonskaya in the BBC period drama War and Peace(also directed by Harper) and in Michael Pearce’s film Beast. Now Wild Rose puts us in the picture about her wonderful singing voice. A soundtrack album for this could be a big seller.
Rose is someone with defiant self-belief. Just out of jail on licence, and with an electronic ankle tag that prevents her leaving her flat at night – which severely limits her gigging opportunities – she has to confront a painful domestic reality. Buckley has a very nice on-screen relationship with Julie Walters, playing her long-suffering mum, Marion, who has been minding Rose’s young son and daughter while she has been inside.
Almost at once, Rose starts winding up Marion with her big dreams of making it to the mecca of country music in the US. But then she gets a cleaning job at the posh house belonging to Susannah, played by Sophie Okonedo. (It’s the only job Rose apparently has to do.) Susannah is entranced by her singing talent – and offers to put her in touch with a very big cheese at the BBC.
As it happens, Susannah goes out very far on a limb to help Rose, and, considering what a public gesture of friendship and support she is supposedly making, it is disconcerting how easily her character departs from the script.
However, Buckley provides a vitamin boost in every scene, and there’s a very funny conversation with her lawyer, who is supposed to be organising Rose’s appeal against the ankle tag. After listening to Rose’s yeah-but-no-but account of how she wound up in trouble with the law in the first place, he asks whose fault it was. She replies smartly that it was the judge’s, for giving her the sentence. A rare moment of cynicism. Otherwise, this is a story very well sung.
Director: Tom Harper
Writer: Nicole Taylor
Cinematographer: George Steel
Starring: Jessie Buckley, Julie Waters, Matt Costello, Jane Patterson
Running time: 101 mins
Rotten Tomatoes - Critics 93% Audience 87%
The Observer - ★★★★
The Telegraph - ★★★★
The Independent - ★★★
The Times - ★★★★