Movies

Wild Rose is an easygoing, easy-listening drama, featuring a ‘winsome’ Jessie Buckley

The upside about trying to make it as a country and western singer is that, even if you fail miserably, you’ve got the perfect material for a new song.

Scotland’s Rose-Lynn Harlan, played by Ireland’s Jessie Buckley in the film Wild Rose, would be the first to correct you on that notion, however. “Country and western?” she’d scoff. “It’s just country!”

In this easygoing, easy-listening drama from director Tom Harper, we first meet Rose-Lynn finishing up a brief prison sentence in Glasgow for – well, let’s just call it a youthful indiscretion. She returns home to her two children, her mum (Julie Walters), and her dream of making it big in Nashville.

Alas, she’s held back by an ankle monitor, a lack of confidence, and barely enough money to visit Tufnell Park, let alone Tennessee. But the last hurdle might just fall when she gets a job as a cleaning woman for the wealthy Susannah (Sophie Okonedo) who may be able to bankroll her desires.

If you enjoyed last year’s A Star Is Born, you may want to lower your sights for this one – Wild Rose is a smaller, more contained movie with a less stratospheric reach. But Buckley, a former contestant on the BBC’s I’d Do Anything, and currently starring in the HBO miniseries Chernobyl, is a winsome lead who sells the character’s ambition and raw talent.

Best of all, she does her own singing, though I wish there were more scenes of her performing. In an oddity of performance, her lovely accent drops away when she sings, and she sounds eerily like Patsy Cline. Country may be “three chords and the truth,” as her character says, but sometimes a vocal lie can be just as powerful.

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