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Arts and Entertainment Monday, Jul. 22, 2019 4 months ago

Jessie Buckley produces an unforgettable performance in 'Wild Rose'

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The film follows a wannabe country singer/mom of two after she is released from prison and pursues her dream in Nashville.

Every so often a little film harbors an incredible performance that's not to be forgotten. "Wild Rose" is one such film.

In the opening scene a young woman, Rose-Lynn (Jessie Buckley), is being released from prison with an ankle tracking device tucked under her white cowboy boots. Right away, we sense that Rose-Lynn is an unbridled free spirit. After a sexual romp in the park with an old boyfriend (first things first), she heads off to her mother's (Julie Waters) Glasgow apartment. There she greets her two children who Mum's been taking care of during her incarceration. No one seems particularly happy to see Rose-Lynn.

Rose-Lynn has big plans to go to Nashville and become a country singer. Mum's had it with her daughter's recklessness and insists that she steps up to the plate and seek gainful employment as a housekeeper. Reluctantly, she takes a job at a wealthy couple's home and becomes close with the wife (Sophie Okonedo). She loves Rose-Lynn's singing and is determined to help launch her career. 

But Rose-Lynn's innate ability to screw things up thwarts her at every turn. In an unexpected twist, Mum changes her tune toward Rose-Lynn's aspirations and sets her on a course that will forever change the quality of her life and that of her children.

Director Tom Harper ("War Book") has made some very wise moves in this terrific film. The first of which impacts the audience immediately: the employment of a country-crackin', toe-tappin' score. That, coupled with slick scripting, draws us into a compelling, feel good story even through the bad patches. And the woman who delivers both will knock your socks off and then some.

Buckley (recently in HBO's riveting "Chernobyl") not only sings the songs, she embodies the lyrics with her charismatic performance. She's an unexpected breath of air so fresh you can't wait to inhale her next gig. As unlikable as her character can be at times, we're rooting for her all the way. 

"Wild Rose" will lift your spirits and tug at your heartstrings. Most importantly, a star is born not within the film's script, but in the immense talent of this gifted actor and her promising future in filmmaking. 

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