Quick Reviews: 'Wild Rose', 'The Addams Family' | Jessie Buckley On Vocals, Wednesday On Cello
Even if Wild Rose from director Tom Harper isn’t a biographical film (you might expect it to be based on the concept), it is probably a lot more true to the average musician than other recent rockstar dramas or ones featuring popstars. Jessie Buckley stars as a Scottish country singer Rose Lynn who dreams of getting to Nashville so she could ”make it”. She just also happens to have two kids from her teenage years, an ankle monitor for a drug offence and a good-for-nothing boyfriend. Balancing all this real life stuff with unlikely but ambitious dreams is the thing that makes it true for musicians and therefore for the film’s audience.
Buckley is very much the heart of the film as she manages to be all around rowdy, colourful and filled with doubt whether Rose Lynn is running around or staying in place. She also brings along her own singing talent which can never be taken for granted in film, especially when that talent matches the story. And the movie’s story is superb since it never gets stuck in the mud or cling onto the usual cliches of musical dramas. Rose Lynn’s struggles with motherhood are established, dived into and partly given a resolution in the end. On top of that it doesn’t play the easy chord of rags-to-riches but it rather opts to the real world’s rules when it comes to doing what you love for a living.
There is one point in the movie where the script gives the best advice to itself in the form of a radio host. It would be a slight spoiler for the plot so I need to dance around it a bit so let’s just say that even if it fits Rose Lynn’s arc, you’d wish to have seen more of it included. That brings us to the soundtrack and as you might expect from the beginning, country music is very much present. The songs however are wisely appearing here and there so it doesn’t fit too many songs in one album. That is the reason why the film’s finale ‘Glasgow (No Place Like Home)’ hits the sweet spot, there’s a natural build up to it. During the songs playing however is one of the straight up dumb choices done as the crowd and room noises as well as some of the dialogue are included really awkwardly in a film that is so grounded otherwise.
Smileys: Jessie Buckley, soundtrack, story, characterisation
Frowneys: Sound design
How was ‘Glasgow’ not nominated for an Academy Award? Travesty.
THE ADDAMS FAMILY
You should know something’s up when you see several animated movies during a calendar year such as 2019 that are exquisitely designed and executed. I mean, of course there is a flip side where you’ll get a couple bland looking ones with a voice cast filled with movie stars, such as the new addition to the list in The Addams Family, directed by Conrad Vernon and Greg Tiernan. What I had gathered earlier was that fans of the Charles Addams’ characters were yearning for a live action feature so it was already going up the hill so to speak. After watching you’d also want a live action since the animation is just overly underwhelming with a story to match.
If there is one genius decision made for the film, it is that the running time is probably 75 minutes excluding intro and credits. It saves a lot of it from sinking too far below and it will also probably please its main demographic, kids, more with sequences that don’t last a long time. Personally I was kind of on board for the first five minutes because it’s exactly what I was expecting the whole movie to be, snappy and dark considering the source material. The voice cast, which features Oscar Isaac (Gomez Addams) and Charlize Theron (Morticia), does get the tone right despite the lacklustre jokes, with a special shout to actors voicing the kids, Chloë Grace Moretz (Wednesday) and Finn Wolfhard (Pugsley).
Whatever synonyms you have for the word bland, they all describe The Addams Family. The antagonist is such a bore of a character that you’d wish for a surprise demise for her immediately. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen and she sticks around for the whole time. Wednesday and Pugsley’s struggles as kids in a new place were really the interesting part of the plot but instead time is spent on the antagonist and relatives of the Addams. The film’s message is basically just an Instagram quote with a budget just like the animation is a Pinterest page but paid with catering. How don’t your colour choices match even when the main ones are black and grey? It all looks like a very cheap morning cartoon for kids.
Frowneys: Characterisation, colouring
Oh, there’s also a Snoop Dogg song which is so out of place in the movie. Why?