February generally means one thing round these parts: feminist films. I guess by now it doesn’t really need all that much of an introduction so I’ll keep it simple. This month is Feminist Film Month – and uh, it’s all about women.
Wild Rose (2018)
A troubled young Glaswegian woman dreams of becoming a Nashville country star.
Rose-Lynn (Jessie Buckley) has just been released from clink for doing something dubious with a bag of heroin. She’s a live-wire alright, as evidenced by some vigorous shagging in the park as soon as she’s freed. Second stop is her mum Marion’s (Julie Walters) house where her two children have lived every since she was incarcerated.
The children, understandably, are wary around their mother and Marion is a little chilly herself, again with good reason. Rose it seems has only one thing on her mind – Nashville. She’s a talented country singer see, something nobody can dispute – not her fellow inmates, her on/off lover nor her mother – and all she wants is to make it big in country music’s capital.
But responsibility is waiting in the wings and she has little choice but to knuckle down for the time being – not least because of the 7am-7pm ankle bracelet curfew. Rose reluctantly takes a cleaning job for a successful family and forms a friendship with mother Susannah (Sophie Okonedo), who instantly falls in love with what she’s selling, which is raw talent and humour. Needless to say, Rose has been economic with the truth and fails to mention prison or even that she has children. Uh oh.
Meanwhile, our girl’s messing up left and right with her kids, failing to keep important promises. Marion gives her short thrift but Rose seems destined to make the wrong choices and further alienates her family when Susannah comes up with an ingenious crowdfunding idea to finally get her to Nashville. A project that corresponds with half term holiday plans.
When things don’t quite work out – Susannah’s husband uncovers the truth about Rose and tells her he doesn’t want her around his wife or children anymore – Rose panics and vows to rein in her dreams for good.
But what is life without a dream? Dull as dishwater obviously and Marion misses the fire in her daughter. When Rose finally gets the chance to visit Nashville to walk where her heroes have walked before – what’s a girl to do?
This was very lovely but a hard watch in some places. Rose does not settle into her groove easily and it’s very frustrating. She’s not always likeable – there’s an entitled air to her that really grates and sometimes you just want to scream at her to stop being so fucking selfish, to hug those fucking kids every once in a while – and appreciate her mother more.
But life is ugly and hard – dreams are all well and good – but what if you’ve been dealt a different set of cards? Sometimes you’ve gotta face up to reality. The question is: is Rose up to it?
I really like the message of this, that there’s room for both reality and dreaming, and also that dreams don’t come for free. Sometimes they look different to how you’d expect which doesn’t necessarily make them worth any less.
I loved the friendship between Susannah and Rose – and you bet your arse I cried when she showed up at the end. While Susannah is obviously better off materially than Rose, she manages not to be patronising when she offers her help and thankfully, remains non-judgemental where it really counts. Sophie Okonedo is so fucking dreamy too.
Marion is also a steely, gorgeous woman – someone I would never wish to disappoint if she was in my life. In fact, when isn’t Julie Walters the Queen of everything?
I don’t know that much about Jessie Buckley but I do know she’s popping up all over right now and I’m quite pleased about it. She won my heart eventually as messed up Rose and I’m into her voice. That final song filled up this sentimental old fool’s heart to bursting point.