Wild Rose Parent Guide
An irresistible musical score and strong messages about redemption provide some compensation for the profanity and substance abuse in the film.
Parent Movie Review
When Rose-Lynn Harlan (Jessie Buckley) is asked why a Scottish girl sings country music, her response is simple: “It’s three chords and the truth.”
Rose-Lynn might belt out the melodies, but she struggles with the truth – that she’s failing in her duty to her children. Having had two children in her teens, and then spending a year in prison for smuggling heroin, Rose-Lynn must now relieve her mother, Marion (Julie Walters) of the responsibility for looking after the kids. But what she really wants to do is go to Nashville and become a famous country singer. As she waits for her big break, Rose-Lynn gets a job as a cleaning lady for a wealthy woman. Susannah (Sophie Okenodo) hears Rose-Lynn sing, is enraptured by her voice, and throws herself into helping launch her singing career – unaware that her protegee has two children and a criminal record.
Although Wild Rose might sound like A Star Is Born with a Scottish accent, it’s a very different film. While the action is centered around Rose-Lynn’s quest for success as a singer, the film’s heart isn’t music; it’s family. Wild Rose is a movie about motherhood and it’s the story of two mothers – Marion, who has sacrificed for her daughter, only to be embittered as she watches her feckless and irresponsible child make one poor choice after another and Rose-Lynn, who is torn between living her dream and looking after her children. Rose-Lynn’s struggles to shape her identity, to determine her priorities, to decide which dreams a mother can hold on to and which ones she has to abandon or put on hold, are all experiences any mother can relate to – even those of us with less dramatic pasts.
Given Jessie’s personality and life experiences, it’s not a surprise that Wild Rose is full of content issues. In a scene filmed from several stories above, Jessie has sex on the lawn with a man: there is no nudity but the activity is very clear. Jessie drinks heavily on several occasions and there is a scene of her employer smoking marijuana. And this production features frequent profanity, including two dozen sexual expletives. Jessie also lies, steals, attacks a man in a moment of anger, and frequently neglects her children.
As a family movie critic, I find the content issues particularly frustrating because Wild Rose has much to recommend it. The music is spectacular and Jessie Buckley is an incredibly gifted vocalist. I’m not a fan of country music, but I came home from the theater and started playing the movie’s soundtrack. The acting is also solid, with both Jessie Buckley and Julie Walters turning in powerful, moving performances that dig deeply into strong emotions – albeit tempered with Scottish reserve. Best of all, this production is loaded with positive messages about the power of the mother/child bond, the rewards of sacrifice, the benefits of persistence and hard work, the possibility of change, and the transformative power of love. As Jessie sings, “Every good thing that ever happens, Happens from the inside out, I’m tellin’ you now, There’s gonna be peace in this house.” And that’s a message everyone can love.Directed by Tom Harper. Starring Jessie Buckley, Matt Costello, and Jane Patterson.. Running time: 101 minutes. Theatrical release July 19, 2019. Updated July 23, 2019
Watch the trailer for Wild Rose
Rating & Content Info
Why is Wild Rose rated R? Wild Rose is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout, some sexuality and brief drug material.
Violence: A woman pushes and punches a man. An angry woman hits walls, punches pillows and yells. A woman throws a glass bottle at a wall.
Sexual Content: A nude man is seen briefly from behind. An overhead shot from a balcony shows a man and woman having sex on the lawn below: no nudity is seen but their activity is obvious.
Profanity: There are approximately two dozen sexual expletives and a smattering of scatological curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A secondary character smokes marijuana. A main character smokes a cigarette. People are shown drinking alcohol frequently. A main character frequently drinks to excess. A woman drinks alcohol out of her employer’s alcohol cabinet. Reference is made to a character’s incarceration for smuggling heroin.
Page last updated July 23, 2019
Wild Rose Parents' Guide
What do you think about Jessie’s final choice? Do you think she made the right decision? Would you make the same choice in her situation?
Did you know that country music has an international following? What do you think is the secret of its appeal? Are you a fan of country music? Do you have a favorite song or artist?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
For an in-depth history of country music, you can refer to Bill C Malone and Jocelyn R Neal’s Country Music, USA. Michael McCall, John Rumble, and Paul Kingsbury have also edited another invaluable reference – The Encyclopedia of Country Music.
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Fictional tales of British singers seeking fame include Teen Spirit and Yesterday. In the first film, a young singer goes on a TV talent show seeking a big break. In the second, an aspiring musician has an accident and wakes up in a world where no one else can remember The Beatles – giving him a golden opportunity.