Photo | Home Away Productions • “YELLOW ROSE”
A coming-of-age film featuring an extraordinarily gifted actress, “Yellow Rose” is as sweet and sad as the country songs the main character sings. At age 17, Rose Garcia faces the same problems most teenagers do, while balancing an increasingly precarious existence as an undocumented immigrant in Texas. Timely but not political, the struggles of Rose and her family make for a deeply moving film about family, growing up and, above all, music, which keeps the story a joy to watch even in its darkest moments.
Eva Noblezada — who has won a Grammy Award and has been nominated for two Tony Awards for her performances in Broadway’s “Miss Saigon” and “Hadestown” — shines as Rose. She is a loving daughter to her single mom, writing country songs on the beat-up guitar her late father gave her. She is an average teenager, dreaming and studying in her room in the hotel where her Filipina mom and other undocumented workers toil, just waiting to grow up and become who she wants to be. When her mother is nabbed by ICE, adulthood is thrust upon Rose.
One day, her biggest problem is getting a fake ID to get into a bar in Austin with her friend Elliot. The next, he is driving her away from her home with all her belongings stuffed in a garbage bag and nowhere safe to turn. Amidst these terrifying ordeals, the cute young pair have such winning, innocent chemistry together. What moved me so much about “Yellow Rose” was how Noblezada made Rose such a compelling teenager throughout her extraordinary circumstances.
Even though there were plenty of tears for me, watching “Yellow Rose” was an uplifting, not harrowing, experience. Some films feel like homework, like they are important and accomplished but painful to watch. This was joyous and beautiful. Also, with all the scenes set in Austin and its music scene, it was simply cool. Elliot and Rose make a pilgrimage to the landmark Austin bar Broken Spoke to see Jimmy Redburn (played by country musician Dale Watson), and both the bar and the musician come to play important roles in Rose’s new life away from her mother.
“Yellow Rose” is in many ways a universal coming-of-age story, but the intense realities of Rose’s circumstances make the questions she faces about growing up uniquely dramatic. While immigrant issues can be a hot-button topic, this deft script makes this simply a story of humanity. Art and music give this film the joy and beauty these things bring to our own lives, not to mention a really terrific movie soundtrack.
Filmmaker Diane Paragas, who is also Filipino-American, has made such a winsome, lovely, specific film, and Noblezada carries it so memorably. She makes Rose an angry, talented, vulnerable teen tower of strength, and when she sings the film really soars. There is a balance that works perfectly, so this film is sad but not depressing, and the struggles Rose faces just make her triumphs that much sweeter. “Yellow Rose” is a beautiful, sensitive, stand-up-and-cheer drama.
“Yellow Rose” is now playing at the Crescent Theater, AMC Mobile 16, AMC Classic Jubilee Square 12, Spanish Fort Premiere Cinema.
New This Week:
“The War with Grandpa”: With a cast that boasts Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Uma Thurman, this farce concerns an outrageously escalating prank war between a young boy and his grandfather when they are forced to share a bedroom. All listed multiplex theaters, Nexus Cinema Dining.
“Honest Thief”: They call him the “In-and-Out Bandit” because meticulous thief Tom Carter (Liam Neeson) has stolen $9 million from small-town banks while managing to keep his identity a secret. But after he falls in love with the bubbly Annie (Kate Walsh), Tom decides to make a fresh start by coming clean about his criminal past, only to be double-crossed by two ruthless FBI agents. All listed multiplex theaters.
“2 Hearts”: For two couples the future unfolds in different decades and different places, but a hidden connection will bring them together in a way no one could have predicted. Based on an inspirational true story, “2 Hearts” is a romantic journey that celebrates life, love and generosity of spirit, and challenges audiences to believe miracles are possible. AMC Mobile 16.
“The Big Chill”: The Mobile Sanger Theatre’s Film Series will screen this ’80s drama classic Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. Ticket prices are $6 for adults and $3 for children (12 and under) and seniors (60+). The Saenger Theatre Box Office is currently closed, but movie tickets can be purchased at the Mobile Civic Center Box Office (located at 401 Civic Center Drive; open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). The Saenger Box Office will be open on movie days. Hours will be 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Sundays and 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Tickets for movies cannot be purchased online or by phone. Limited concessions, as well as beer and wine, will be available.
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