TIFF Review: 'Wild Rose' Is a Tear-in-Your-Beer Tale of Country Music in Glasgow Directed by Tom Harper

Starring Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo, Jamie Sives
TIFF Review: 'Wild Rose' Is a Tear-in-Your-Beer Tale of Country Music in Glasgow Directed by Tom Harper
Following your dreams is overrated. Western countries love to pretend to be meritocratic, and the American Dream is based on the fantasy that, with enough stick-to-itive-ness, anything is possible. Wild Rose, on the other hand, deals with the consequences of relentlessly pursuing your dreams.
Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley) is a fish out of water; she's a country singer living in Scotland who fantasizes about making it in Nashville and is the centre of attention at Glasgow's modest Grand Ole Opry. When the story begins, she's just getting out of prison following a drug charge, and she regains custody of her two young children, who have been staying with their grandma Marion (Julie Walters).
She should be rebuilding her life and caring for her kids, but Rose-Lynn seems more interested in drinking with her buddies and trying to get her music career off the ground. Her cowboy boots sure look snazzy though.
It's frustrating but affecting to watch her repeatedly screw up, with her stern mother acting as the much-needed voice of reason. Rose-Lynn gets a few more second chances than she probably deserves, and it's particularly heartbreaking to see the impact of her behaviour on her youngsters.
Country music is the perfect vehicle to express her fucked up, hard-drinkin' lifestyle. Wild Rose is full of heart-on-sleeve tunes, and the genre's emphasis on storytelling means lyrics frequently match the character's exact predicament. Buckley is a strong vocalist who makes a believable aspiring star, and crossover country big shot Kacey Musgraves makes a background appearance as a bar singer.
Wild Rose is ultimately a heartwarming story about making compromises while still pursuing your dreams on your own terms. It's a little disappointing when the film pulls some punches along the way, given the consistent shittiness of Rose-Lynn's behaviour. Still, no matter how badly she behaves, she's relatable enough that you can't help but hope all of her ill-advised dreams come true. (eOne)