11th Sep2019

‘Wild Rose’ DVD Review

by Chris Cummings

Stars: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo, Matt Costello, Jane Patterson, Lesley Hart, Carol Pyper Rafferty | Written by Nicole Taylor | Directed by Tom Harper


Written by Nicole Taylor (Three Girls) and directed by Tom Harper (The Scouting Book for Boys), Wild Rose tells the raw tale of Rose-Lynn (Jessie Buckley), a young Glaswegian woman with troubles she has yet to deal with, who seeks a life in Nashville among the Country Music scene. Unable to claw her way out of the life she finds herself in, she finds herself desperately looking towards a world she feels unable to reach.

This is a relatable and rough-around-the-edges story of finding yourself and coming to terms with life and all its torn pages and sharp corners. Rose-Lynn is troubled and immature, unsure of how to handle her children, the relationship with her mother, Marion (Julie Walters), or how to deal with life. She begins the film by leaving prison after serving a year for distributing heroin, and finds it hard to get past the things she’s done, the things she wants to do, and the people who are, in her mind, holding her back from it. She begins to work as a Daily Woman for a kindly lady named Susannah (Sophie Okonedo), cleaning her home each day as a way to afford her new flat and pay her bills. Susannah soon gets to know Rose and see’s a spark behind her eyes, so she offers her help and support in helping her make some contacts with the Country Music world. What happens from here is a rollercoaster ride of happiness and darkness for Rose as she tries to navigate her messy and unstructured existence.

Wild Rose takes us on a journey with Rose-Lynn, a journey of self-discovery and realisation, and it’s absolutely fantastic. Buckley (Beast) is phenomenal as Rose, a gritty and energetic presence in every scene, she takes us among various emotional roads as the movie progresses and her character encounters the situations that alter and change her life and her perceptions. She really is a wonderful actor and if there was ever a performance to highlight a star who is, if all if right with the world, going to be huge, then this is it. Walters, as the mother who has to be tough and strong in order to keep her daughter from making more mistakes, is wonderful too. She’s warm but hard, loving but distant and there really couldn’t have been a better casting here for the part. I also found Okenedo to be a really strong presence in the film, providing a much needed moral support to Rose, giving her a confidence that appears to have been pulled and kicked out of her for a long time. She’s a great actor and I thought some of the scenes between Buckley and her were some of the strongest in the film, especially the scene in which Rose sits in front of Susannah’s computer and records herself singing while Susannah looks on. It’s emotional, uplifting and bloody brilliant.

There has been no shortage of music-based films in the past couple of years, but I haven’t seen one that moved me or impressed me as much as Wild Rose did. It has the rugged and authentic skin that is missing much of the time from films that deal with someone seeking a career as a musician, and with the performances on hand, especially from Buckley, it hits a level I don’t quite think others have managed. Buckley sings her songs here, and they’re amazing. She has a beautiful voice, and when Rose is singing, her eyes closed, her face showing passion, there’s a vivid conflict between the Rose that exists when she sings and the Rose that exists when she’s not letting the music flow through her. It’s done really wonderfully.

Harper has brought the very best out of his cast, and with the grey and often gritty locations, there’s a real genuine air about the film. Wild Rose doesn’t feel forced. It doesn’t feel like it’s winking at the academy with it’s finger swirling around the base of an Oscar, but instead feels like a film that is utterly and completely itself, just like Rose-Lynn. Unapologetic, feverish, sincere and wild.

***** 5/5

Wild Rose is available on DVD and Digital now from Universal Pictures UK.


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