Sunshine on Leith is marketed as the feel-good film of the year. It has been described with words like ‘sprightly’ and ‘unabashed’ and rightly so. It’s the Scottish answer to Mamma Mia!; the same sugar coated, cheery qualities which are an ameliorating antidote to the onset of another unpredictable British winter.
Cinematographically speaking it’s a tourist board’s dream; Edinburgh (and Glasgow rather convincingly posing as Edinburgh) has never looked so good- a stunning backdrop on which a story beginning with two returning soldiers adjusting to life at home after a tour of Afghanistan can take place. Considering the depth of context- it’s impressive to see how director Dexter Fletcher and male leads George MacKay (Davy) and Jason Flemying (Harry) have handled such serious issues in a film which doesn’t necessarily take itself so seriously.
Sunshine on Leith focuses on a very real family- it follows the parents Rab (Peter Mullan) and Jean (Jane Horrocks) through a time of difficulty running up to the 25th anniversary of their marriage at a time when their grown up children are forging their own romantic paths, tying together the lives of Misfits’ Antonia Thomas and Scottish beauty Freya Mavor. It’s a little cringeworthy, as you would expect from a romantically inclined musical, however there’s nothing to rival Pierce Brosnan belting out S.O.S at Meryl Streep and it’s hard to stop yourself singing along to I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) as the all singing all dancing cast put on a show stopping rendition outside Princes Street Gardens.
The gimmicky karaoke style has been avoided and the musical choices and styling befits the familiarity and likability of The Proclaimers music.