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Why Nurse Oraetta Mayflower From Fargo Looks So Familiar

In FX's fourth season of anthology series Fargo, the story takes place in Kansas City, Missouri in the 1950s. The town is the setting of a face off between two crime syndicate families: the Kansas City mafia, formed by Italian immigrants who have already settled there, and a rival syndicate comprised of Black Americans who have escaped from the Jim Crow south. Starring Chris Rock as Loy Cannon and Jason Schwartzman as Josto Fadda, members of the rival families, the season has an extensive cast filled with familiar faces.

Of all the supporting characters, one stands out among the crowd, and that's the charming and murderous Nurse Oraetta Mayflower, played by the extremely talented Jessie Buckley. An Irish actress and singer, Buckley began her career in 2008, as a competitor on the talent competition series I'd Do Anything, casting a West End production of Oliver!, the musical. Buckley came in second, but jumped to a different West End revival soon after, in A Little Night Music. After a few years on stage, Buckley turned to film and television, quickly getting key supporting and lead roles in a variety of different projects.

If she looks familiar, there's a reason why. Buckley is gaining star power very quickly, and you're likely to see her in more and more things in the future. With the ability to transform herself into vastly different characters with shifting accents and appearances, it's easy to understand if you can't quite remember where you've seen Buckley before, so here are her biggest roles so far.

Jessie Buckley played singer Rose-Lynn in the movie Wild Rose

In 2018, Buckley starred in the musical drama called Wild Rose, directed by Tom Harper. The story follows Buckley's character Rose-Lynn Harlan, a single mother of two who aspires to be a country singer. At the beginning of the film, she leaves prison after spending a year there for a drug smuggling charge, and is told by everyone around her to give up on her music dream to take care of her family, in particular her mother, Marion (Julie Walters).

Her new employer, Susannah (Sophie Okonedo) helps Rose-Lynn out, sending a tape of her singing to BBC Radio presenter Bob Harris, who agrees to meet with her in London. Harris encourages Rose-Lynn to keep singing and write her own music. Rose-Lynn's journey has a lot of ups and downs from there, as she faces the troubles of raising two kids on her own, as well as the low probability of getting noticed as a musician. 

Buckley's performance in Wild Rose got her a lot of attention, and the film did really well with critics and audiences, according to Rotten Tomatoes. In particular, one of the film's original songs, "Glasgow (No Place Like Home)," won a handful of awards, including the Critics Choice Award for Best Original Song. Along with that, Wild Rose and Buckley each won one BAFTA Scotland Award, and Buckley was nominated for a BAFTA Film Award for her performance.

Buckley played Lyudmilla Ignatenko in the hit series Chernobyl

HBO's Chernobyl was a huge hit for the channel, praised for its honest depiction of the horrific explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, near the Ukrainian city of Pripyat, on April 26, 1986. Of course, the series doesn't get everything right about what really happened that fateful day, but the aspects that were changed or added to the narrative were done largely to improve the drama and impact of the series.

The role Buckley plays in Chernobyl is that of Lyudmilla Ignatenko, the wife of Vasily Ignatenko (Adam Nagaitis), a firefighter who received fatal radiation poisoning from his heroic work the night of the disaster. Both were real people, and the story portrayed in the show is relatively accurate, as the real Lyudmilla spoke to BBC about the series after its release. She stated that she never gave permission to HBO to use her story.

Buckley's portrayal of Lyudmilla follows the woman during the events of the disaster and the aftermath. Lyudmilla is left alone in Pripyat after her husband is flown off to a hospital in Kiev with the other firefighters and Chernobyl plant personnel who suffered radiation, where Vasily spends the rest of his days. One of the major events in Lyudmilla's story revolves around her pregnancy, and how she entered Vasily's wing to stay with him as he died, not knowing the effect the proximity to radiation would have on her unborn child.

Jessie Buckley took on the female lead role in the film I'm Thinking of Ending Things

In this Netflix film directed by Charlie Kaufman (who previously wrote iconic movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich), I'm Thinking of Ending Things is a psychological thriller based on the book of the same name by Iain Reed. Buckley plays the lead female role, who is only given the designation "Young Woman." Jesse Plemons plays the other lead, Jake, while Toni Collette and David Thewlis play his parents. The story follows Buckley's character as she contemplates ending her seven-week relationship with Jake, agreeing to go on a trip to visit his parents.

The movie is strange, tense, and uncomfortable at times, with an unclear structure. It has a surrealistic feel to it, which is sort of Kaufman's calling card, as all his films seem to look at the human condition from an interesting perspective. I'm Thinking of Ending Things got a relatively good response from critics, who largely praised Buckley and Plemons for their performances, along with the film's cinematography.

Buckley is very good at playing complex, multi-layered women with secrets and struggles. Looking at all her roles, from Rose-Lynn to Young Woman, Buckley brings each character to life in a stylistic and unique way, which is why it's no surprise that Buckley's gotten attention for her character Nurse Mayflower in Fargo. Keep a close eye out for her in the future, as she continues to rise.