So many young people have dreams and aspirations of becoming stars. Some of them hope to be actors, some rappers and some country music singers. Rose-Lynn (Jessie Buckley; Beast) is one of the latter. She is an anomaly living in her small town in Scotland dreaming of moving to Nashville to make it big. Her chances are probably one in a million but she is single-minded about her dream and is willing to do almost anything to make it happen. Wild Rose from Neon pictures is her version of the familiar "a star is born" tale but in this case, well deserved.
Rose-Lynn was a teenage, single mother who was sent to jail while her mother, Marion (Julie Walters; Mamma Mia), took care of her kids. Once she returns home Marion finds her a job cleaning the house of a wealthy couple but Rose-Lynn still dreams of becoming a singer. One day the wife, Susannah (Sophie Okonedo; Hotel Rwanda) hears her singing while cleaning the house and the two strike up a conversation. Suddenly, Susannah and her children are listening to country music and encouraging Rose-Lynn to follow her dreams. Meanwhile, they have no idea about her former life of incarceration or that she has two small children that she is constantly letting down.
Susannah, who takes Rose-Lynn under her wing and makes Rose-Lynn her "pet project", helps to make things happen including setting up a meeting between Rose-Lynn and famed country music radio DJ, Bob Harris. Susannah then hosts a party at which she wants Rose-Lynn to sing in order to raise money for Rose-Lynn to move to Nashville but Rose-Lynn can't do it and comes clean to Susannah about her kids. Having been lied to Susannah is upset and Rose-Lynn resigns herself to the life she was - living with her kids in a small apartment and working day jobs to support herself and her kids.
There has been other "rise to fame" and stardom stories before and this one isn't all that unique. What makes it special then, you ask? Plain and simple...Jessie Buckley. She is magnificent as the young woman who refuses to give up on her dream despite her responsibilities (a.k.a her kids). Walters is wonderful as her mother who tries to crush Rose-Lynn and bring her back to Earth. Okonedo is also terrific as the always encouraging and supportive, Susannah - the exact opposite of Rose-Lynn's own mother. But is it Buckley who is exceptional. The second she opens her mouth and her voice floats through the air, you know you will take this journey with her as tears form in your eyes as the beauty and purity of her voice makes you want to root for her to succeed.
And succeed she does. She takes along with her as she strives for her dream, gets dealt a crushing blow in the realization that she has responsibilities that don't afford her the luxury to "chase the stars in the sky" and pulls herself back up to eventually (somewhat) gets everything she has always wanted. We see her inner struggle, we, in turn, feel her pain and her excitement as she moves from experience to experience on the road to being a country singer.
Writer Nicole Taylor (The C Word) weaves a wonderful tale and Director Tom Harper (The Aeronauts) showcases Buckley's talent to the fullest making the audience want to go on this ride despite the unoriginal story. Between the script the visuals and the highly talented cast, Wild Rose is a great ride that you will want to go on from the minute the movie starts to its somewhat yet fitting ending. This is one movie you don't want to miss.