Director: Tom Harper
Talent: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo
Released: 12 April
In Glasgow, Scotland, the American Dream is still alive and well. Especially for burgeoning country music singer, Rose-Lynn Harlan, the fringe-clad titular character of Tom Harper’s drama, Wild Rose.
The first time we meet Rose-Lynn, played by the fiery Jessie Buckley, she is being released from prison, where her fellow inmates affectionately call her “the next Dolly Parton.” She is quick to belt out a tune, as well as start a fight. Her white cowboy boots function both to cover her ankle monitor (which enforces a strict curfew of 7pm) and embody her lifelong dream of moving to Nashville, Tennessee and making it big. The only thing standing in her way is the life she has created in Glasgow—namely, two young children, who have spent the last 12 months in the custody of their grandmother (played by a strong and stoic Julie Walters). When a job as a house cleaner for a well-off woman named Susannah (played by a dynamic Sophie Okonedo) opens up opportunities for a new life, Rose-Lynn is forced to choose: motherhood and responsibility, or independence and her dream.
What at first seems like the age-old story of an artist finding her way, and her stardom, against all odds turns out to be a soulful contemplation on dreams, family and good ol’ country music. Rose-Lynn is rarely a likeable character, but it’s impossible not to root for her. Director Tom Harper and screenwriter Nicole Taylor have managed to pull off a story about a quiet life in small Glasgow that will leave you starstruck. By the end of Wild Rose, you’ll be teary-eyed, homesick and desperate to go download some Dolly Parton.
Words: Hannah McKennett