When you go won’t you send back // A letter from America?

In this lovely adaption of Stephen Greenhorn’s jukebox musical, Dexter Fletcher directs a positive yet slightly weak film on family, love and courage featuring the great Proclaimers. The film stars George MacKay and Kevin Guthrie as Davy and Ally, two discharged soldiers who return to their families in Edinburgh whilst re-adapting to civilian life and finding love. Ally returns to his girlfriend Liz (Freya Mavor) who is Davy’s sister and introduces him to her English friend Yvonne (Antonia Thomas). Davy and Liz’s parents, Rab and Jean (Peter Mullan and Jane Horrocks) are preparing to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, however, Rab’s past catches up with him which causes tension between the two and their family.

 As a musical, Sunshine on Leith is what you’d except from most musicals really. The singing from the cast is spot on and really capture the feelings they express at that particular moment like Antonia Thomas emphasising her character’s struggle for love and respect from Davy and vice versa. And of course there’s spontaneous dancing from the cast and extras which adds to the feel good and soppy element. Musically, The Proclaimers’ music works very well with the film as a whole, for example, Sky Takes the Soul as the opening song with its dark lyricism suits with the eerie Afghan setting and heavily contrasts bright and pretty Edinburgh. All the cast deliver very strong performances, Peter Mullan despite having a very Tom Waits-esque singing voice which I love doesn’t really suit this musical even though I thought he had the strongest acting performance which connoted obvious pride for his family. Freya Mavor and Antonia Thomas had overall the best singing voices and delivered also good performances. My criticism of the film is that I feel there wasn’t really much with the narrative, as much as I enjoyed the music due to being a Proclaimers fan, the narrative I felt should have developed more along with the character development. There isn’t anything much to this film, but maybe that’s the point, simplicity is the key. Despite having a weak narrative and being predictable, this is a good film with excellent music and a fantastic cast.