Wild Rose film review: where country music and Glasgow meet

Jessie Buckley as Rose-Lynn Harlan in Wild Rose.
Jessie Buckley as Rose-Lynn Harlan in Wild Rose.

COUNTRY music and Glasgow meet in this ballad of a film about the clash between family responsibilities and chasing your dreams.

Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley) is just out of a year’s stint in prison and will not let her parole ankle bracelet get in the way of her determination to get to Nashville and become a country singer.

However, she has two children back in her care after being looked after by their grandmother Marion (Julie Walters), who thinks Rose-Lynn needs to forget Nashville and accept her responsibilities.

Jessie Buckley and Julie Walters in Wild Rose.

When she gets a job as a cleaner for the wealthy Susannah (Sophie Okonedo), her employer’s connections make the dream of country singer stardom that much closer, causing a conflict for Rose-Lynn as she finally starts to enjoy being a mother.

Films about singers can often feel false when an actor is either not that good at singing or clearly miming.

This film’s strength is that Buckley is a genuinely amazing singer, as you would expect from someone who started her acting career in musical theatre.

Her beautiful renditions of country songs and a few originals that she co-wrote are less toe-tapping and more soulful with a hint of a Celtic twang.

Jessie Buckley as Rose-Lynn Harlan in Wild Rose.

Buckley is equally amazing as an actor and she helps to turn a fairly, standard script into a heartfelt exploration of how our ideas of what we want our life to be can change and evolve over time.

Walters is as always fantastic and lifts the quality in every scene in which she appears.

Okonedo with her upper-class English accent provides a great contrast between her privileged life and the working class existence of Rose-Lynn’s family.

Do not be turned off if country music is not your thing, Wild Rose might almost make you a convert to the genre.

Wild Rose is better than A Star is Born and a more honest account of rising talent.


Wild Rose (M)

Directed by: Tom Harper

Starring: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo

Reviewed by: Lucy Rutherford

Four stars

In cinemas now