Wild Rose review

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As it arrives on DVD in the UK, here’s our review of the brilliant Wild Rose.

Certificate: 15
Director: Tom Harper
Cast: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo, Craig Parkinson
Release date: On DVD now.
Reviewer: Charlotte Harrison

British cinema has tended to do the underdog story rather well in its relatively recent past. But as it turns out, what was missing was mixing in a tale of a character to really root for, going through huge difficulties, with an undercurrent of country music. Thus, pretty much instantly deserving to be mentioned in the same sentence as The Full Monty, Billy Elliot and Bend It Like Beckham is the superb Wild Rose.

The film follows the story of Rose-Lynn (Buckley), who we meet as she’s released from prison. We quickly learn that she’s a young mother of two, a country music obsessive and a total dreamer trying to find her place in the world. She’s certain she’ll find her true calling in Nashville; that’s the place she’ll finally find meaning and a purpose. Except her actually getting from Glasgow, given she doesn’t have a penny to her name, is a tall order. So the mundanity of daily life carries on. She tries to be the mother her children need her to be. She tries to be the daughter her mother (Walters) needs her to be. She tries to be the cleaner her employer (Okonedo) needs to her to be. All the while dreaming about ‘three chords and the truth’.

It shouldn’t be news to you that Jessie Buckley is phenomenal. Anyone who saw Beast last year is attuned to this fact. But here, she even surpassed that. She is fire personified. She is aflame; bright, burning and raging. The way she renders Rose is simultaneously joyous and heartbreaking. Within the briefest of expressions, she’s able to convey levels of poignancy most actresses can only dream of. All backed by a superb script from Nicole Taylor and focused direction from Tom Harper. Between them, they turn the story of a Glaswegian girl’s dream of being a country singer into something truly universal.

Wild Rose is flat out the must-see British film of the year so far.

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