In independent film Wild Rose, a Scottish ex-con grows up so she can raise her own children, all while pursuing country music stardom on her own terms. It's a modern take on the classic tale of a dreamer with loads of talent and seemingly no luck at all, told through a story highlighting the global appeal of Harlan Howard's summation of a good country song: three chords and the truth.
Jessie Buckley plays lead character Rose-Lynn Harlan, a troubled yet talented performer with her sights set higher than the Glasgow version of the Grand Ole Opry. She shines throughout as a vocalist while covering Chris Stapleton ("Outlaw State of Mind") and others. By the film's end, she's singing her own song titled "Glasgow (No Place Like Home)," written for the film by veteran actor turned Nashville songwriter Mary Steenburgen.
The independent film incorporates three impressive guests: the BBC's resident country music expert Bob Harris and country stars Ashley McBryde and Kacey Musgraves. At risk of ruining one of the movie's best surprises, the latter appears on-stage during a surreal scene shot in Nashville at the Station Inn. Musgraves' performance at a relatively small venue reminds viewers that real country stars dreamed the same dreams and took many of the same risks as the film's lead character.
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There's also a fun Easter egg for fans of another must-see movie about an aspiring country artist. When Harlan arrives in Nashville, she stays at the Drake Hotel, an important site in the 1993 River Phoenix film The Thing Called Love. The sign out front references "Maybe God's a Woman Too," a line from one of The Thing Called Love's most memorable songs.
Parts of Harlan's story will resonate with creative types with past financial and personal struggles, regardless of their musical tastes. That said, country music fans will get the most out of the film, due in part to the before-mentioned cameos and references.
Wild Rose currently plays in select theaters throughout the United States.