Even if Wild Rose isn’t a biographical film (you might expect it to be based on the concept), it is probably a lot more true to the average musician than any of rockstar dramas (Rocketman, The Dirt, Bohemian Rhapsody) or one starring a popstar (A Star Is Born). Jessie Buckley stars as a Scottish country singer Rose Lynn who dreams of getting to Nashville so she could ”make it”. She just also happens to have two kids from her teenage years, an ankle monitor for a drug offence and a good-for-nothing boyfriend. Balancing all this real life stuff with unlikely but ambitious dreams is the thing that makes it true for musicians and therefore for the film’s audience.
Buckley is very much the heart of the film as she manages to be all around rowdy, colourful and filled with doubt whether Rose Lynn is running around or staying in place. She also brings along her own singing talent which can never be taken for granted in film, especially when that talent matches the story. And the movie’s story is superb since it never gets stuck in the mud or cling onto the usual cliches of musical dramas. Rose Lynn’s struggles with motherhood are established, dived into and partly given a resolution in the end. On top of that it doesn’t play the easy chord of rags-to-riches but it rather opts to the real world’s rules when it comes to doing what you love for a living.
There is one point in the movie where the script gives the best advice to itself in the form of a radio host. It would be a slight spoiler for the plot so I need to dance around it a bit so let’s just say that even if it fits Rose Lynn’s arc, you’d wish to had seen more of it included. That brings us to the soundtrack and as you might expect from the beginning, country music is very much present. The songs however are wisely appearing here and there so it doesn’t fit too many songs in one album. That is the reason why the film’s finale ‘Glasgow (No Place Like Home)’ hits the sweet spot, there’s a natural build up to it. During the songs playing however is one of the straight-up-stupid choices done as the crowd/room noises and dialogue are included really awkwardly in a film that is so grounded otherwise.
Smileys: Jessie Buckley, soundtrack, story, characterisation
Frowneys: Sound design
How was ‘Glasgow’ not nominated for an Academy Award? Travesty.