Reviewed by Tami Smith, Film Reviewer for Shockya
Director: Tom Harper
Screenwriter: Nicole Taylor
Cast: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo, Adam Mitchell, Daisy Littlefield
Release Date: June 14, 2019
During the final act of Wild Rose Rose-Lynn (Jessie Buckley), a singer from Glasgow, Scotland is taking a smoking break outdoors in Nashville, Tennessee, while talking to a security guard. After a short verbal exchange the guard admits that he does not have a clue what she is talking about, yet could help her get an audition at the Grand Ole Opry. This is not a coincidental exchange, since we in the audience find it difficult to understand most of the verbal conversations taking place in the film, and could have used some English subtitles. Putting all Scottish misunderstandings aside viewers of Wild Rose in particular and fans of Country music in general are in for a big treat, not experienced since Coal Miner’s Daughter screened in 1980.
Wild Rose is the story of a Scottish lassie, just released from a Glasgow prison, where she spent one year for a minor drug offence, who is determined to go to Nashville and conquer the city with her powerful singing voice. Along the way she must overcome some obstacles such as finding some gainful employment, which she does after getting hired by Susannah (Sophie Okonedo) for house cleaning; getting some travelling money; taking care of her kids: feisty five-year-old Lyle (Adam Mitchell) and none-speaking eight-year-old Wynonna (Daisy Littlefield); and overcoming objections and non-stop criticism from her mother Marion (Julie Walters).
Most British films I have seen point out to class differences, and Wild Rose is not different in this respect. We observe those who “have-not” – the working classes lacking in education and thus reduced to minimum-wage jobs in retail stores and domestic work. We then get a look at those who “have” – the very comfortable moneyed middle class, able to acquire better houses, in the better part of town, and private schools for their privileged children.
We are also made aware of the stigma against incarcerated people who served their time in prison, but find their own families in particular and the society in general critical of every move they make. This becomes clear at one scene where Rose Lynn is offered a ride back home from her employer’s husband. At one point he stops the car in an isolated part of the road, but not for sexual assault. He calmly explains to Rose Lynn that he knows about her past imprisonment, does not want her next to his children and wants her gone within a few days!
Musical performance is a big part of Wild Rose. Country music is performed by Jessie Buckley, with a final rendition of “Glasgow”, and cameo appearances are done by Bob Harris, Ashley McBryed and Kacey Musgraves. Julie Walters delivers an excellent performance as working class Marion, Rose-Lynn’s mother. This woman had aspirations to become a pharmacist but settled for a retail job in a mall bakery, due to an unexpected pregnancy. She is bitter and critical of her daughter’s every move and aspirations. Sophie Okonedo as Susannah, Rose-Lynn’s employer, gives a convincing performance of a fifty-year-old middle class woman living in the lap of luxury in a large gated house, with her husband and two children, employing others to clean and cook.
Wild Rose was directed by Tom Harper, with a keen eye for women’s issues, and photographed skillfully by George Still in: Glasgow, London and Nashville.
101 minutes. © Rated R © Tami Smith, Film Reviewer