Even though this year has been pretty scarce in terms of movie releases, it looks like we’re still going to have some semblance of an awards season, as many films with awards ambitions are slated for release later this year. Many films with hopes of getting some Oscar buzz are starting to release both in theaters and on streaming services.
One such film is “Yellow Rose,” which was released in theaters this past weekend. The film tells the story of a 17-year-old Filipina girl named Rose living in Texas. Rose has an immense love of country music, and she dreams of one day becoming a country singer. However, Rose’s entire world gets flipped upside down when her mother is suddenly taken by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the middle of the night. Her mother is subsequently deported, leaving Rose entirely on her own to fend for herself as an undocumented girl with nothing left but her love of music.
“Yellow Rose” is an incredibly emotional film that serves as a love letter to country music and the power of artistic expression.
The journey Rose goes on throughout this film is packed with emotional events and turmoil, despite the film only running around 90 minutes. There’s a lot that happens. Rose drifts from one home to another — one job to the next — trying to find somewhere that she can be safe and happy. She eventually ends up crossing paths with country music singer Dale Watson, who plays himself. Watson encourages her to pursue her dream, and Rose uses the pain of her situation to inspire the music she writes and performs.
The songs in “Yellow Rose” are fantastic. If the film gets looked over for other awards, I hope it at least gets an original song nomination for pretty much any of its tracks. Each song brings its own energy and emotion to the film. The music serves an excellent narrative purpose by exploring Rose’s emotions, and the songs are well-written and catchy. They’re not the cliche songs you'd expect from a musical — they’re legitimately great country music tracks that just so happen to be from a movie.
The performances throughout the film are wonderful, but the strongest undoubtedly comes from Eva Noblezada as Rose.
Rose is a complicated character who experiences a wide range of emotions and motivations throughout the film, and Noblezada plays the role perfectly. She’s able to portray every little emotional aspect of the character with immense class and potency. She was nothing short of incredible, and I hope she gets some recognition for it through an award.
The film was also a fantastic directorial debut for Diane Paragas. Paragas has worked on television shows and short films before, but this is her first feature-length outing as a director. She knocked it out of the park. This is an incredibly timely and emotionally complex film, and Paragas was able to tell the story of Rose without being too heavy-handed with any potentially political aspect of the film. She focuses the story on Rose and her personal experience, and the result is nothing short of fantastic.
“Yellow Rose” is a beautiful film. It pulls at your heartstrings while also providing an entertaining country music experience. It’s an ode to the power of musical and artistic expression, and it’s the kind of movie that will make you want to go home, pick up a guitar and start playing, even if you’ve never played a guitar before.