Proclaimers Bring Sunshine Where There is Grief

Jane Horrocks in Sunshine on Leith (2013)

Best friends and squaddies Davy (George McKay) and Ally (Kevin Guthrie) return home to Edinburgh after finishing their tour of duty in Afghanistan where fortunately they returned home unscathed not like some of their friends. But the question is will they be able to navigate normal life in Edinburgh unscathed as Ally is besotted with Davy's sister Liz whilst Davy starts seeing one of Liz's colleagues, Yvonne (Antonia Thomas) and falls for her although as she is English it cause Davy some issues. Meanwhile Liz and Davy's parents having celebrated 25 years of marriage are confronted by relationship issues of their own thanks to a skeleton in the closet.

Back in my youth I loved music yet strangely very few songs from my teen years have stayed with me like The Proclaimers and their song "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" has. And it is to the Reid twins' credit that not only is that song still a favourite of many but so many of their songs are well loved. They have such a recognizable rhythmic style that so many of their songs are catchy and have this strange ability to be fun then after you have heard them a few times become annoying yet somehow they become fun again. But their songs also have great lyrics and when you look beyond their catchy nature you realise that their songs tell fabulous stories and so in my book are perfect for the musical genre.

Peter Mullan in Sunshine on Leith (2013)

But whilst The Proclaimers' songs are the back bone of "Sunshine on Leith" the stories which have been built around them make it continuously entertaining. Okay so I will admit that this set up which sees various relationship issues between a small group of people is contrived but it creates this light, emotional drama which draws you in. We wonder whether those involved can trust, forgive and learn to love again and that is as much to do with the stories as the likeability of the actors involved. George MacKay and Kevin Guthrie have a laddish charm which draws you to them whilst Antonia Thomas as Yvonne has this look about her which just makes you wish for good things to happen to her. But the crowning glory is Jane Horrocks and Peter Mullan who have fabulous chemistry that they are the sort of people you would like to have as friends.

And then on top of this director Dexter Fletcher, yes that Dexter Fletcher, alongside cinematographer George Richmond have captured Edinburgh in such a way that you would toss away any plans to go abroad on holiday and head up across the border instead. From the way the rain soaked cobbled streets glisten under the night lights to the silhouette of the city against the warm hues of a setting sun it looks absolutely gorgeous.

What this all boils down to is that "Sunshine on Leith" is a very watchable movie; it is beautiful, well acted and features the wonderful and often poignant songs of The Proclaimers, yes some of the musical scenes did make me shed a tear. And as such whilst "Sunshine on Leith" isn't a great movie it is one which you would happily want to watch again and again.

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