Sunshine on Leith review

I don’t feel an urge to jump up and sing about it, but I do like it.

The short and spoiler free version:

Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)
Overall: A simple slice-of-life heartwarmer, though lacking some of the emotional punch it had potential for.
Summary: ‘The film follows the stories of Davy and Ally, who have to re-learn how to live life in Edinburgh after coming home from serving in Afghanistan. Both struggle to learn to live a life outside the army and to deal with the everyday struggles of family, jobs and relationships.’ -IMDB

sunshine on leith

The slightly longer version (essentially no spoilers):

For me this film sort of starts off as a three rating and then works its way up to a four. It’s obviously meant to be a slice of life film, but I’m used to more psychological exploration or humour as a successful take on the genre…whereas this falls more in the middle ground of ‘sweet’. By the end I had warmed more to its gentle charm.

The music, all composed by the Proclaimers, is very enjoyable and easy to sing along to (if you know them), although a lot of the songs seemed to be rather similar the more I heard. However, it was definitely a soundtrack I enjoyed and would happily listen to again. My favourites were ‘Over and Done With’ and of course ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ which many people will know regardless of if they know the musical/film. One or two of the songs seemed a little awkwardly started, including ‘Hate My Love’, which I think might have been better handled, as well as the title song ‘Sunshine on Leith’. However it is good to hear music sung by people who can really sing, unlike the karaoke nature of Mamma Mia.

The cinematography isn’t anything special, the best scene in this sense just being a nice use of silhouettes in the cafe for the song, ‘Then I Met You’. It is however warm, reflective of the homeliness of the piece.

I think my favourite scenes were all in small gems of conversation, especially between Davy and Ally. The whole scene around the song ‘Let’s Get Married’ is amusing and fun and one of my favourite moments in the film. The final and only confrontation between the friends was for me probably the sharpest in the whole movie, even though much more of the film revolves around the other, romantic relationships. Speaking of which, whilst I feel more of an edge could have been put into them, the relationships were very charming with friendly, unobjectified female characters. The characters of the young boy played by ‘wee’ John Spence and Harry (Jason Flemyng) also liven up the piece (the latter with a song that nearly looks self-aware).

Anyway, with the light humour and Scottish accents, I have to conclude that this film lives up to its feel-good nature, despite being a little predictable, and improves upon reflection. The relationships and characters feel real and believable and the ending is very satisfying. I feel like this splash of optimism is a nice refresher from some darker British drama. Ultimately I went in with no expectations and I came out with no regrets, which is a pretty good way to go.

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