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Film Review: Wild Rose (2019)

Wild Rose (2019) is a Scottish musical drama that focuses on the choice of country music. Directed by Tom Harper, this film stars Jessie Buckley as Rose-Lynn Harlan as a mother of two who gets released from jail and does everything that she can to become a huge country star, even when being dismissed by her mother (Julie Walters). Even though she lives in Glasgow, she is trying her best to earn the money so she can go to Tennessee.
Wild Rose (2019) – source: Entertainment One
Jessie Buckley was a fantastic choice for the role of Rose-Lynn. Despite being Irish, you would believe that she was born and raised in Scotland, as her accent is so convincing. She gives a heart-breaking performance in this film in playing such a flawed and damaged character that just wants to make something of herself. Whilst I had problems liking her character and wanting to do well, there is no doubt that she is multi-layered and filled with character development.
My favourite performance of the film though was Julie Walters, who truly shines in every role that she is given. Her accent is also spot on, alongside the help of the great script that she has been given. If there was any character that I felt for in this film, it was her. She gives an emotional performance that also feels well developed, and you completely understand what she has gone through due to the troubles of her daughter.
I also loved how they approached the music aspects of this film. Just like my favourite film of last year, A Star is Born, this film approaches the musical as if it is real life. The music isn’t cheery and placed randomly throughout the film, but rather to enhance the performances that Rose-Lynn gives throughout. The array of country songs that play in the background help set the tone of the film, and it is always great to hear Buckley perform throughout the film as she has an excellent voice.
Wild Rose (2019) – source: Entertainment One
I also really enjoyed how tonally dark and gritty this film got. Unlike other musicals that focus on the central theme of living your dream, this film feels even more realistic by showing that everything cannot go your way. I was getting worried near the end that they were going down a cheesy ending, but they brought it back and the way they executed that was fantastic. It made the film feel more true and I appreciate when any film of this nature changes things up.
I had certain problems with the lead character though, and alongside that I also had issues with the boyfriend storyline. I understand why he was there from a narrative point of view, but that side plot never feels complete. It felt cliched to have the “bad boyfriend” influence her and drive her away from her kids at some points. This is also a let down as there is no real conclusion to that story, and after a certain amount of time he just disappears from the screen.
I also found myself questioning certain small details about the film that did feel over-dramatised. There is one moment on the train sequence that made sense for that area, but left me questioning how she managed to deal with the consequences of that issue. They try to address it, but everything seems to have been dealt with after one day with no explanation. Whilst I understand that it is a narrative point to drive the film forward, I think it could have been handled a little bit better.
Wild Rose (2019) – source: Entertainment One
This film is way grittier and darker than I expected it to be, but I think that made the film feel refreshing. Whilst I did have some narrative points and I couldn’t fully support the lead character of Rose-Lynn, there is so much to love from this film. I love seeing films set so close to where I am from, and I would highly suggest that you check it out if you haven’t already.


Have you seen Wild Rose yet? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below and let’s have a conversation.

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