Wild Rose is an exceptional movie, one that deftly balances some pretty heavy topics such as poverty and the class divide that exists within communities, with a thrilling story and some fabulous music. The film tells the story of Rose-Lynn, a single mum, newly released from prison, who sets out to pursue musical stardom. Resolutely grounded throughout, with an often unsympathetic heroine forced to make difficult choices, Wild Rose feels like the film A Star is Born should have been.
Wild Rose is the kind of film that lives and dies on its central performance. And in Jessie Buckle it has one that is exceptionally good, with the actress a force of nature in this film. Not only can Buckle carry the musical numbers with aplomb (her career began as a finalist on I'd Do Anything) but she is an adept dramatic performer, building from her stellar work in Beast. Some of her best scenes are when she can play off of the film's seasoned performer, Julie Walters. It is hard to find a bad performance from Walters at this point, and here she gives a fascinatingly prickly one. There is an electric chemistry between the two and a sense of a history un-shown.
Director Tom Harper has cut his teeth on a number of acclaimed British TV shows (War & Peace, Peaky Blinders, Misfits, This Is
Equal parts funny and poignant, Wild Rose is the film you should seek out when it is released. A British film that feels neatly able to dodge many of the clichés for kitchen sink dramas and feel-good comedies, it is a mini masterpiece. And it marks the continued rise of Jessie Buckle as one of the most exciting performers working in British cinema. Certainly by a rousing finale that ties together its themes, Wild Rose will stir most viewers, tugging at their heartstrings and causing a fair few tears to be produced. This is British cinema at its best.
This is a London Film Festival preview and Wild Rose will be released on the 19th April 2019.