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TIFF 2018 Review: Wild Rose

In Wild Rose, the scrappy, firmly working class Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley) is an aspiring but struggling country singer trying to make it on her own terms. She has grand dreams of getting to Nashville to start her career in earnest but as a young single mother with a criminal record, the path forward is, well, fit for a country song.

As a performer and vocalist, Rose-Lynn has the talent, but feels out of place in Glasgow where country music, despite a strong underground scene, is far from mainstream. Rose-Lynn has some obvious need for personal growth but continues forward on an uneven and irresponsible trajectory. Her mother (the excellent Julie Walters) is the only person keeping her and her children afloat.

We’ve seen this type of underdog story before, but not typically with such well-written characters and strong performances. Jessie Buckley has the challenge of making this often unlikable character someone to root for and pulls it off.  Though overly formulaic, Wild Rose benefits from a stellar cast and a smart use of its star’s undeniable talent. Mostly, it just packs too much heart to ignore.

Dani Saad

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. Unless you're Harry Potter in which case you'll lose... everything.