I was slightly apprehensive about this film. I worried it would try too hard to be emotional and would just fall flat. I don’t really connect with a lot of country music on an emotional level, so if that’s the lynchpin of the film then I just won’t get it. Also, it’s a British movie about a working-class person wanting to live their dreams; films like that tend to not do well in the “great plot” stakes, usually incredibly predictable and obvious. There was a small glimmer of hope however that it would work. As this film went on that hope became larger, I became emotionally invested in this film and it just really works, a lot. Most of that is due to the performance of Jessie Buckley, who I’ll admit I’m not too familiar with but I feel I should be, her performance in this is breath-taking, turning what could be an unlikeable character into one you really root for and that you can’t help but love.
Make no mistake, this is a SCOTTISH country film, the fact it’s set in Scotland adds a lot to the story and the character and makes it unique. I mean, it’s also a Scottish COUNTRY film, wouldn’t really work with most other music genres, there’s something about the soul of country music which lends itself to this film. I mean, I suppose it’s also a Scottish country FILM as it wouldn’t work if it was a fruit basket, but that would just be silly, albeit delicious.
It’s not perfect, there are a few moments which only exist to service the plot, in fact, there’s one character who almost seems to exist only to further the plot with her actions. Don’t get me wrong, the interactions between them and the main character are incredibly heart-warming and lovely, it does seem a little hollow at times. The way the main character reacts to her seems incredibly out of character and only seems to happen to cause a plot-problem later down the line.
I mentioned the performances earlier, and whilst they are good, they’re not the best part of the film. The best part is something you can’t really identify but is there; the heart. Everything in this film seems like it’s done with great love and emotion, and it’s that which carries this film through the weaker moments. The heart Jessie Buckley puts into the songs she performs brings tears to your eyes. Even the ending is full of heart, ending with something that’s not the happy ending the film is expected to have, but the one that the film deserves, and it’s beautiful.