Last year, an Irish-born actress made her feature film debut in British psychological thriller. Following her performances in BBC series Taboo, The Woman in White and War & Peace, her acting talents attracted acclaim despite Beast‘s limited release in the UK. Named TIFF 2017’s Rising Star, she is taking centre stage in a drama that reunites her with War & Peace director Tom Harper.
Set in Glasgow, Wild Rose follows aspiring singer Rose-Lynn (Jessie Buckley) who is recently released from prison. With her heart set on making it as a country singer in Nashville, she chooses to side-step her responsibilities as a single mother to pursue her dream.
Even with a tag around her ankle, Rose-Lynn is desperate to rekindle the carefree life she once had but fails to acknowledge times have changed. Her old job is no longer available and her kids don’t see them as her ‘mum’ – the only thing that hasn’t changed is her dreams. Her failure to acknowledge her responsibilities not only highlights her immaturity but also her passion for music.
This struggle is echoed through her rapport with her wealthy employer Susannah (Sophie Okonedo) and her strained relationship with mother Marion (Julie Walters). While Marion tries to get her to face reality, Susannah takes steps to get her noticed, which only drives Rose-Lynn further away from her responsibilities.
Showcasing her amazing voice, Buckley establishes herself as a force to be reckoned with, conveying a boldness and sentimentality that makes her an endearing protagonist. Behind the camera, Harper’s skilled direction harmonises with Nicole Taylor‘s emotionally charged script, which effectively avoids clichés while ensuring the authenticity to its characters.
Films that reminds audiences of the dangers of being blinded by ambition are not uncommon. But Wild Rose is a charming tale about a star in the making – and it has Buckley firmly in the spotlight.
Director: Tom Harper; Nicole Taylor (screenwriter)
Stars: Jessie Buckley, Julie Walters, Sophie Okonedo, James Harkness, Neill McColl, Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham, Bob Harris