June 26, 2020
By Don Morton
Rose-Lynn Harlan, a troubled young Glaswegian lass fresh off a year in prison, pursues her dream of going to Nashville and becoming a country music star (“don’t call it country-western”). Obstacles include an electronic ankle tag (worn under white cowgirl boots), few job prospects, and, oh, her two children. The movie, which at first seems fairly predictable, defies genre expectations at every turn as Rose threads her way between obligation and ambition.
The movie succeeds largely on the spot-on, star-making casting in the title role of charismatic Irish singer and actress Jessie Buckley as the rough-edged would-be diva. Her performance is raw, exhilarating, and totally believable, plus the girl can sing! Julie Walters shines as her long-suffering mother.
Little sleeper gems like this are the reason we film critics continue to wade through all the dreck out there. Left me in a puddle of tears, but I’m a sucker for performance movies. Highly recommended, even if you don’t like country music.