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Storyline (warning: spoilers)
Set in Glasgow, the central character, Rose-Lynn Harlan, who, as we first meet her, is just getting out of prison after serving one year on a drug charge. On her release, Rose, as most people call her, moves in with Mum, who has been taking care of Rose’s two young children during her daughter’s incarceration. Given Rose’s passion for American country music — a passion she’s indulged since she was 14 as the front woman for the house band at Glasgow’s Grand Ole Opry — the kids are named, appropriately enough, Lyle and Wynonna.
Rose wears white cowboy boots and an American flag T-shirt. To be sure, Americana is big in certain quarters of Glasgow’s Opry, and there’s a long-running BBC radio program dedicated to the musical genre, hosted by “Whispering” Bob Harris. But Rose, who isn’t called “wild” for nothing, takes her love of country to extremes. She’s willing to pursue her dream, even if it means leaving her children while she searches for stardom — solo — in Music City.
That dilemma provides the film’s emotional conflict, which takes place mostly between Rose, who sees her artistic success as benefiting everyone in the long run, and Rose’s mother, who believes that Lyle and Wynonna need their mother more than Rose needs fame and fortune. Making matters more complicated is the fact that Rose really can sing.
That’s the question that so many women artists with children confront — artists of all disciplines — and that fathers rarely do. It’s also a question that so many movies fail to explore as honestly as this one. When Rose meets a benefactor, a well-off woman who hires Rose as a housekeeper and who is poised to facilitate her trip to Nashville, it seems as if the movie is going to turn into the fairy tale we have seen before.
To its great credit, the movie turns left when you expect it to turn right, taking a route that is less well travelled, yet more plausible.