Mark and Simon are joined by Hobbledehoy favorite Jessie Buckley who talks about her new film. Plus your essential streaming and cinema reviews including The New Mutants, Mulan & Les Miserables.
A troubled woman living in an isolated community finds herself pulled between the control of her oppressive family and the allure of a secretive outsider suspected of a series of brutal murders.IMDB
‘Wild Rose’ is more than just an underdog story about a single mother with Nashville dreams—it’s a breakout movie for its star. Our review.
It’s a standard-issue plot: A young, single, Scottish mother of two, recently paroled from prison, harbors dreams of country-music stardom in Nashville. Don’t be fooled. Wild Rose is anything but the same old underdog story. And chances are you’ll fall fast and hard for breakout star Jessie Buckley. This classically trained Irish singer and actress was a runner-up on a BBC singing competition and won roles in film (Beast) and TV (War and Peace, HBO’s Chernobyl). She’s a skyrocketing talent — and the full range of her gifts are on display here.
As 23-year-old Rose-Lynn Harlan, an untamable bundle of impulsive energy, Buckley lets it rip. The ex-con is a comet slowed in her flight by a court-ordered ankle bracelet, an interfering mother (Julie Walters), and self-destructive tendencies with both drugs and men. Working from a script by Nicole Taylor, director Tom Harper makes a few by-the-numbers stops with Rose-Lynn getting it on with boyfriend Elliot (James Harkness) and showing little aptitude for mothering her children, who are five and eight years old. Fortunately, the script takes an intriguing twist by focusing not on the men in Rose-Lynn’s screwed-up life, but on the women who challenge and provoke her. Walters is reliably superb as Marion, the mother who’s tired of taking shit. It’s Marion who pushes Rose into a housekeeping job for Susannah (the outstanding Sophie Okonedo), a free-spirited Brit whose Scot husband (Jamie Sives) has put her and their two young kids in a pumpkin shell that looks like a mansion. It’s Susannah and the kids who hear Rose singing around the house and decide she’s star material.
They’re right. The movie knows it. And you’ll know it, too. Harper directs a terrific scene of Rose-Lynn singing as she cleans house, backed by an imaginary band scattered around the premises.. Buckley can sing country like a honky-tonk angel (she also co-wrote most of the songs) and her stage presence is electric. She’s a hellraiser on stage and off, preferring not to pour herself a whiskey when she can swill it right out of the bottle. Rose-Lynn’s voice is as emphatic as her strut in white cowboy boots and fringed leather jacket. But it’s the way Buckley digs into the bruised soul of her character that makes her incandescent.
Rose-Lynn’s country goal seems out of reach until Susannah sparks a crowd-funding project to send her to Nashville and the film sets us up for the usual rags to riches finale. That things don’t happen that way is a tribute to the creative team behind Wild Rose. If country is, as Rose-Lynn says, “three chords and the truth,” she is slow to accept the harsh realities about herself and incorporate them into her music. But when she does, sneaking onto an empty stage at Nashville’s fabled Ryman Auditorium (former home to the Grand Ole Opry) to sing a capella, prepare for an emotional wipeout.
Arresting lead performances give this British psychological thriller an alluringly dangerous sexual energy.
At first it comes on like a grim version of Sixteen Candles: a young, flame-haired woman flees her house after being upstaged at her own birthday party (where her older sister makes a happy announcement, with perfect malicious timing), then gets tipsy at a club and ends up with a dodgy boy who turns out to be a creep. Life is almost comically frustrating for Moll (Jessie Buckley), but Beast is no John Hughes scenario. Moll’s not a teenager anymore, and her stunted existence—she lives with her parents and helps tend a father with dementia—is shadowed by a troubling incident from her past.
Beast, which played during the first week of SIFF, is Michael Pearce’s feature writing/directing debut. The beast stalking the Isle of Jersey—that small enclave of Englishness just off the coast of France—has already killed a handful of people, including a victim slain the night of Moll’s birthday. Pearce rolls out the story as a whodunit, scattering a few viable suspects around—but Moll’s family, and the police, think the main candidate is Pascal Renouf (Johnny Flynn), the rough, scar-faced young man who came to Moll’s rescue the night she ran away. Moll and Pascal, both cast out by society, rush toward each other as though magnetized. She knows he could be the killer, but after having been surrounded by dullards on a small island all her life, the intoxication of their chemistry overwhelms her. When an insinuating police officer (Trystan Gravelle) interrogates Moll and asks whether her sex life with Pascal has been out of the ordinary, she contemptuously replies, “It’s not ordinary. It’s amazing.”
This is mad love, always rich turf for the movies. We see Moll taking dangerous risks on Pascal’s account, and we worry about her, but we also sense her exhilaration. The premise is a little like Nicholas Ray’s great film noir In a Lonely Place (1950), where we watch Humphrey Bogart begin a romance with Gloria Grahame while he’s under suspicion for murder—except that Beast shows us the dynamic from the female perspective. Pearce adds a sinister undercurrent: Moll, after all, must herself be considered one of the suspects.
I wish Beast fulfilled all its early promise, but it stumbles toward the end, and its caricature of domestic asphyxiation seems a little canned—did Moll’s mother (ably played by Geraldine James) have to be quite such a brittle harridan? The movie is memorable, though, because of the two lead performances. The Irish-born Buckley has seen success in longform TV shows like Taboo and BBC’s War and Peace, while Flynn is a musician and actor, perhaps best known as the youthful version of Albert Einstein in Genius. They’re mesmerizing. When movie stars are cast as misfits, it can produce unconvincing results (see Michelle Pfeiffer in Frankie and Johnny). No such problem here. Buckley and Flynn are both arresting—and it’ll be surprising if their careers don’t take off—but they don’t come across like stars. They look as though they’d stepped out of the pages of an old folk tale hatched from an insular island culture like Jersey’s: two phantom spirits, not entirely to be trusted.
Source: SEATTLE TIMES The Primal Attraction of ‘Beast’ | Seattle Weekly