Wild Rose review – Jessie Buckley sparkles as an ex-con country singer

In this entertaining if sentimental tale co-starring Julie Walters, a young Glaswegian dreams of becoming a star in Nashville

There’s a marvellous singing turn from Jessie Buckley in this movie from screenwriter Nicole Taylor and director Tom Harper about a talented young country singer and ex-convict from Glasgow called Rose-Lynn, desperate to make it to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. But how is she going to find money for the air fare? And who is going to look after her kids?

Buckley had already showed audiences what a great actor she is with her performance as Maria Bolkonskaya in the BBC period drama War and Peace(also directed by Harper) and in Michael Pearce’s film Beast. Now Wild Rose puts us in the picture about her wonderful singing voice. A soundtrack album for this could be a big seller.

My reservation is that the story itself is a bit forced and contrived, with a soft centre that’s been overcooked. I was never quite sure how far we are supposed to participate in Rose’s persistent air of childlike naivety about the music business. She says things such as: “Whoever heard of a country singer from Glasgow?” Well, there is quite a thriving country scene in Glasgow; the film itself features Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry club in Govan Road.

Rose is someone with defiant self-belief. Just out of jail on licence, and with an electronic ankle tag that prevents her leaving her flat at night – which severely limits her gigging opportunities – she has to confront a painful domestic reality. Buckley has a very nice on-screen relationship with Julie Walters, playing her long-suffering mum, Marion, who has been minding Rose’s young son and daughter while she has been inside.

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