Wild Rose - This Movie Country Rocks
Dir: Tom Harper
Starring Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo, Craig Parkinson
We here at lastword are, for one, glad that this movie is at pains to separate “country” from its bastardised cousin “country and western,” in what turns out to be a film that verges between hard edged and feel good and – fully – announces Jessie Buckley as a full-fledged star. And takes the time to also remind us that Julie Walters knows the meaning of the word “supporting” better than most.
The hugely persuasive Buckley is the titular Rose, recently emerged from a short spell in a Glasgow jail, determined to salvage her relationship with her kids, but equally determined not to give up on her dream of getting to Nashville and making it as a country singer. She finds an unlikely champion in Okonedo, the woman she cleans for. Yet the road to the Grand Ole Opry was never going to be a smooth one.
Harper’s film is a tale with a huge deal of heart that wisely keeps finding itself hitting a brick wall with “No” writ large upon it. It doesn’t want to be a fairy tale, even though it has elements of such, and it transcends all of the above by finding the right Rose. And Buckley is definitely your woman. Hers is a terrific star-making turn that makes last year’s A Star Is Born look like a night down the karaoke. The fact that the actress subsequently went on to tour in character as Rose shows her level of commitment to the part here. And she has – essentially – a fine voice, but also an understanding of the songs she is singing which is crucial to the success of the film.
Walters, as ever, reminds us of why she is very literally a national treasure. But one of her strengths here is knowing this is Buckley’s film to finally announce herself to the world. And boy does she.
Oh, and it has Whisperin' Bob Harris in it. Come on - what more do you people want???
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