With American musicals sweeping the box office, what can be expected from the Scottish A Star is Born.
With the recent box office success of The Greatest Showman, Bohemian Rhapsody and the Mamma Mia series, it appears we are in a modern-day renaissance of musicals, which can be exemplified by the recent success of the fourth rendition of A Star is Born. However, whilst that has claimed mountains of praise, a film from a small country called Scotland is attempting to capitalise on the winning combination of a young singer rising from nothing with the aims of stardom.
The story focuses on Jessie Buckley’s Rose-Lynn, a young Glaswegian, who has dreams of being Nashville’s next big country singer. However, her journey is not without troubles as she faces the challenge of raising two kids, clawing out of the shadow of her prison sentence and coming to terms with the notion that country singers don’t come from Scotland. To aid and assist our country star is her employer and friend Susannah (portrayed by Sophie Okonedo) and Rose-Lynn’s mother, Marion, played by the forever captivating Julie Walters.
The general theme of this film follows suit in a similar fashion to 2018’s A Star is Born, and that is true, however, I personally believe that Wild Rose is the superior film. Whilst A Star is Born focuses on the aspects of a singers life we are familiar with, the performances, the award shows, the record deals etc, Wild Rose provides a much more human story. By showing the strength, determination and passion to just even get that first performance, we as the audience give greater respect to Rose-Lynn than to Miss Gaga who was lucky enough to be found in a bar. Furthermore, instead of grand, stadium wide performances, the songs in Wild Rose are played for personal effect, with the final performance being used as the perfect poetic end point to our time with Rose-Lynn.
Wild Rose also isn’t as sombre as others in it’s genre, with truly laugh out moments involving Julie Walters being sassy to anyone and everyone. The film’s cinematography, being predominantly set in Glasgow, involves working with different shades of greys and browns. This allows to represent all Rose-Lynn wants to leave and is contrasted by her journey to Nashville where she is met with bright lights and colours to truly portray where she belongs.
Despite having the greater budget and talent working behind it, I was not moved nearly as much by A Star is Born, as I was with Wild Rose. Where A Star is Born is bleak, depressing and with an ok acting job by Lady Gaga, Wild Rose is uplifting, moving and truly inspirational.