Sunshine on Leith

2014-09-26 13:03
What it's about:

A jubilant, heartfelt musical about the power of home, the heart, family and love. It is the tale of one tight-knit family, and the three couples bound to it, as they experience the joys and heartache that punctuate all relationships. And they do it all while singing to the euphoric music of The Proclaimers.

What we thought:

It’s been a while since we had a good musical to sing along to, and although you might not have heard of the play itself, you will definitely recognise the songs from famous Scottish band, The Proclaimers. I think most of us have "I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)" etched into our souls.

The film starts off in a war zone and after a bomb goes off, our two heroes return to their Scottish hometown Leith, of course singing merrily on their way. While struggling with adapting to home life, they and those around them also have to deal with love and its many challenges. Having Scottish accents make it that more endearing to watch (besides the English, who doesn’t like a Scottish accent?)

The wide range of love stories make this film appealing across generations; from a love that is just blooming to an old love which is tested by a shameful secret. One wants to settle down and get married, the other wants to travel the world – a common first-world issue for couples in society today. Also, if you were following the Scottish Independence vote, you can console yourself/celebrate (whichever way you were leaning) with some good ol Scottish fun.

Unfortunately though, the singers aren’t all that great. Some can barely hold a note while others sound more like they are talking than singing. The male leads (George MacKay and Kevin Guthrie) are outstanding performers, while the voices of the mother, played by Jane Horrocks (Absolutely Fabulous) and the only English person played by Antonia Thomas (Misfits), sound like screeching harpies. Freya Mavor (Skins) did a much better job and the miscellaneous characters were also pretty rad.

The plot strings along a lot. Many plot points just dragged on and on and you feel like shouting at some of the couples’ idiocy. And when the supposed climax appears heralded by the aforementioned "500 Miles", it feels like you somehow got cheated by the producers who could have churned out an epic musical finale, not an underwhelming sing along in the streets. I know the story line is supposed to be more realistic than other musicals, but when your main characters burst out into song, you gotta step up (the bar scenes were the best).

All in all, it’s a lovely movie despite the slow parts and its ideal for date night. Anyone who likes to hum along to songs (please refrain from singing loudly along in the cinema) or those with a love for Scottish things will like this. Gotta love those accents.

A fun, whimsical musical about the various stages of love set against the background of sexy Scottish accents.
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