As self-proclaimed "Austin-based honky-tonker" Dale Watson might say if he was writing this review, "I reckon it's an itty-bitty, teensy-weensy film with a whole helluva lotta heart," and he'd be right.
Filmed in Austin, Yellow Rose is as independent a film as they come. IMDB describes it like so: "Filipina teen from a small Texas town fights to pursue her dreams as a country music performer while having to decide between staying with her family or leaving the only home she has known."
The film is well-written, oozes Austin ambience, and the Broken Spoke (arguably Texas' last true, independent dance hall) features prominently. I can't say for sure, but I wouldn't be surprised at all to learn that a couple key characters here are, in fact, employees there.
Eva Noblezada is beautiful as Rose, Dale is spot-on as himself (!), and Libby Villari (who runs the Broken Spoke) is a dead-ringer for her role, too, so I'm sorta shocked to learn she's a North Carolinian and not a Texan. Her accent is a bit too twangy for me, but otherwise spot-on.
Lastly, I cannot leave you without suggesting you check out the soundtrack. Lots of original songs by Dale, and Eva is a songbird. Man, oh man, what a killer voice. I totally dug it, and did, for the better part of two hours.
The film is not quite 'enjoyable' or 'entertaining' so much as 'tender-hearted' and 'touching.'
It's difficult here, and all the more in real life, to see the psychological devastation caused by abrupt deportation of illegal immigrants and their families, but these are stories that warrant telling. Empathy, I think, and Love itself are forfeited when we fail to consider the plights of all, and especially those whose lives are built on the shifting sands of politics and policy and the permanence of fear and the trauma it causes both individually and generationally.