Directed by: Dexter Fletcher
Countries & Regions: United Kingdom
Studio: Entertainment in Video
Length: 100 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 27 January 2014
Cat No: EDV9749
If you are unhappy with your purchase, you can return it to us within 30 days. More Details
Sunshine on Leith
Also available on Blu-ray
Dexter Fletcher directs this cinematic adaptation of the acclaimed stage musical featuring the music of Scottish band The Proclaimers.... Read More
Dexter Fletcher’s sophomore film (following his directorial debut Wild Bill) may not be the most technically dazzling cinematic offering this week but it’s certainly the cutest, with the most obvious feelgood appeal.
Adapted from Stephen Greenhorn’s jukebox stage musical created for Dundee Rep, it has a plot that is about as profound as that of any songbook musical devised around a collection of tunes - in this case the idiosyncratic, folk-pop oeuvre of Leith natives, Hibs fans and twins Craig and Charlie Reid, aka The Proclaimers - which is to say not very. So deep and meaningful it’s not, but sweet and infectiously toe-tapping it is. Fletcher must have been permanently affected by his participation in Bugsy Malone when he was a mere tiny tot.
It does have a terrific opening. Squaddies Davy (George Mackay, who stars in three of this week’s releases!) and Ally (Kevin Guthrie) are in an ISAF convoy in Afghanistan, the lads all singing Sky Takes the Soul with apt intensity and an explosive finish. Two months later they are safely back home, newly arrived in Leith, and it’s a very dull dog indeed who is not disarmed by these two - who are particularly engaging leads - dancing down the street singing I’m On My Way.
Then we are into the story lines. Ally plans to marry Davy’s sister Liz (Freya Mavor), but she longs to see the world beyond Leith and secretly applies for a nursing job in America. Liz sets up Davy with fellow nurse Yvonne (Antonia Thomas) and these two fall in lurve but she’s missing her native London and is quick to start issuing ultimatums about commitment, relocating South and such.
Meanwhile Davy’s parents Rab (Peter Mullan) and Jean (Jane Horrocks) are happily planning a mighty craic for their 25th anniversary celebration when Rab discovers he has a 24-year-old daughter - oops - from a long-ago love affair he has never revealed to Jean. Misunderstandings, furtive rendezvous, revelations, recriminations, hopes and dreams frustrated and a life-or-death crisis ensue.
Every script beat is accompanied by a song, many of which are unfamiliar to non-Proclaimer aficionados - which precludes the universal singalong opportunity that was Mamma Mia! - but each of which suits the circumstances well enough, warbled, croaked or beautifully rendered, depending on who is doing the singing.
Hats off to Mullan for getting in touch with his sensitive, softie side and having a go; his singing is no worse than Clint Eastwood’s, it’s safe to say. Rousing ensemble chorus numbers - like a rowdy pub crowd belting out Over and Done With - are a treat.
Inevitably we are made to wait for the two Greatest Hits, a poignant 'Letter from America' and 'I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)', but when they come Fletcher dramatises them wonderfully. A huge Gleeful flash mob bouncing up and down in the middle of a miraculously sunny Edinburgh singing 'Da da dun da! Da da dun da!' around reunited lovers is, admit it, pretty darn irresistible.
Genius it is not, but uniquely Scottish and oddly charming.