Julie Waters is who shines in this mother/daughter film, “Wild Rose”. Waters is Marion, the mother of a dreamer. Our dreamer, Rose-Lynn finds herself with two children at 24 and with a deep yearning to make it big as a country singer. Rose-Lynn is also hard to immediately like. As an ex-con from Glasgow, this Scottish lassie is both mistake-laden and selfishly driven. Her children suffer emotionally, but gramma saves them from abject neglect.
Jesse Buckley as our wild Rose sings with a raspy truth that deserves the stage and the recording studio. Her lyrics make us forget the ankle bracelet hidden by her cowboy boots. Her perennial headset and forays of shagging in the park leave her mother aghast. Honing her craft means gramma takes over, and Rose-Lynn has no compunction about asking others to help with her responsibilities.
Buckley, 27, is an accomplished Irish musician and actress. Her arc in “Wild Rose” goes from delinquent to “star” easily. Her stomping and screaming do not pay off, nor does her anger management sessions and her nine to five job. We root for her. And her employer Susannah, the lovely Sophie Okonedo, roots for her and networks, too. Susannah’s smiling eyes let Rose-Lynn know that the BBC expert on country music has agreed to hear her. A surprise denouement keeps the film interesting. Rose-Lynn’s tatoo of “three chords and the truth” takes on symbolic intent. Director Tom Harper and writer Nicole Taylor are to be lauded for giving this comedy/drama a moral turn. For it is the redemptive power of Marion’s love that causes her daughter’s most enduring rise.