Film Reviews: Creative strife and self-empowerment
WILD ROSE (15)
Sometimes it's hard to be a woman but it's harder to be a woman who sacrifices her long-cherished dreams of fame for her children in director Tom Harper's uplifting drama of creative strife and self-empowerment.
Blessed with a stellar lead performance from Irish actress Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose resets the rags-to-riches of A Star Is Born to the mean streets of Glasgow with a toe-tapping country music twang.
For the opening hour, screenwriter Nicole Taylor seems to be following frequently plucked chord structures of the genre, composing obstacles that the spirited heroine must overcome if she is to deliver a barn-storming performance on the stage of The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee.
In its final verses though, Taylor's script confidently subverts expectations and propels the lead character in an unexpected direction without feeling convoluted or contrived.
WONDER PARK (PG)
An imaginative girl discovers the theme park from her bedtime stories is a reality in a computer-animated fantasy co-directed by Robert Iscove, David Feiss and Clare Kilner.
Wonder Park conjures an intriguing premise as the emotionally brittle heroine tries to make sense of knotty philosophical questions posed by scriptwriters Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec. "Oooh an existential crisis.
I knew this day was missing something," deadpans a love-struck porcupine, delivering one crisp aside that will fly over the heads of the target audience. Unfortunately, Iscove, Feiss and Kilner's rollicking escapade doesn't have the courage of its clumsily articulated convictions, undermining central messages of courage and perseverance with a manipulative final flourish that feels like a dramatic cheat.