If there was ever an almost PG-rating advert for the wonders of Glasgow, Scottish people and our love for music, Wild Rose may be it. The film revels in Scottishness, especially our capacity to laugh in the face of adversity, and of course the banter that comes with that, while also providing one of the most heart-warming movie experiences in recent years. Despite the storyline being nothing new, the drive of the narrative and its unpredictability, performances and the soundtrack are remarkable.
Rose-Lynn (Jessie Buckley) is released from jail and goes back to her council estate in Glasgow, where waiting are her two kids and mother Marion (Julie Walters). Despite being a single mum in her 30’s, she still dreams of being a country singer in Nashville, much to Marion’s chagrin. She begins work as a cleaner for Suzanna (Sophie Okonedo), who believes in her talent, and pushes her to realise those dreams. Rose-Lynn’s responsibilities as a mum and her dreams pull her apart, leading the film in to interesting territory.
Rose-Lynn’s moral quandary is very relatable and human, and one that made me ponder a life such as hers; having had kids at a young age yet still yearning to realise her dreams is a life that many have lived. Buckley’s performance conveys this with such heart, passion and humour that the film is sure to make her a star, and that’s not to mention her singing voice and the quality of the songs, original and covered. It’s also great to see Walters take on a part with complexity, and speaking in a broad Scots accent without a hint of affectation.
Glasgow plays almost as big a part in the film as the characters, with two age-old locations looking great in the film: Grand Ole Opry and The Laurieston bar, with the former hosting rousing scenes of Rose-Lynn performing. Kudos to director Tom Harper, the style and construction of the film is completely sympathetic to the characters. There’s great use of drone shots that deepen the approach to character and themes, such as Rose-Lynn’s exit from Suzanna’s party, contrasting her lone wolf single-mindedness with Suzanna’s class and sociability.
Wild Rose succeeds triumphantly as a film that reflects the Scottish character, devoid of pretension and sneakily humorous, tugging at the heartstrings while winking at you, pint raised. One to savour.
Wild Rose is out on general release now.