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Wild Rose

The heartfelt tale about a Glasgow girl who wants to be a country star is currently in theaters.

Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

Metacritic score: 78

Wild Rose is the story of Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley), a mega-talented country singer whose aspirations include moving to Nashville and finding stardom. The twist: She’s from working-class Glasgow, a young mother of two kids born before she was 18, and she’s just spent a year in prison. With her ankle surveillance monitor in place, she moves back in with her mother (Julie Walters), who’s been caring for her children, and picks up a job housecleaning for an affluent woman (Sophie Okonedo). But she wants, more than anything, to get back on stage.

“Down-on-her-luck artist tries to start over” is a familiar setup, but Wild Rose doesn’t take a simplistic approach to Rose-Lynn’s life. She must balance her dreams against her reality, and she has a lot to learn about love, responsibility, and sacrifice while simultaneously nurturing her undeniable talent.

And it’s stunning talent, actually. Even if you don’t fancy yourself a country music fan, Wild Rose is worth watching for the music alone. Buckley, who is Irish, is a fantastic performer, both as a singer and an actress; she’s charismatic and magnetic and a joy to watch. Wild Rose manages to showcase her skills while also saying something real about home and family — all against the backdrop of a gray Glasgow and vibrant, rousing songs.

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