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Trailer: Sunshine on Leith

Two Scottish soldiers return from Afghanistan, home to Leith (Edinburgh, Scotland) to the warm embrace of their families.

PT1M59S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-38brx 620 349

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Reader rating:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars (26 votes)

Och, people will think I’m heavering* when I say that this is a Scottish musical both charming and original. In fact, if there is a better Scottish musical I’ve nay seen it (and no, I don’t mean to slight Brigadoon but that was shot in the Hollywood ''highlands'', in a well-dressed studio).

I will now suspend the fake brogue, but it will take some effort. A Hibernian ebullience has descended upon me, after watching a film that so lovingly adopts and adapts the tenets of the movie musical in order to celebrate Scottish culture. Lovers of the musical genre have had so few examples to savour since the form curled up and died in the late 1960s.

Peter Mullan in Sunshine on Leith.

Peter Mullan in Sunshine on Leith. Photo: Supplied.

This one started as a theatre piece at Dundee Rep, a so-called jukebox musical (one that uses previously known songs), but actor-director Dexter Fletcher does a fabulous job of transferring it to the open air. Edinburgh has rarely looked this good, from Arthur’s Seat to Princes Street Gardens. The sun really does shine on Leith (Edinburgh’s port), which must have presented major schedule difficulties.

The songs are by the Proclaimers, and of course, I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) gets a good workout, as two ex-squaddies return from an unhappy tour of Afghanistan in which their troop transport ran over an IED. Davy (George MacKay) harbours a deep sense of guilt about what happened; his friend Ally (Kevin Guthrie) just wants to settle down with Davy’s sister Liz (Freya Mavor), the love of his life. Davy’s parents, Jean and Rab (Jane Horrocks and Peter Mullan) welcome them home with relief. They are about to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary and all is well – except that Rab discovers he has a daughter, from a secret fling just after he got married. And nurse Liz wants to go to America rather than settle down, and Davy finds himself falling for a girl who doesn’t want to get serious. Worse, Yvonne (Antonia Thomas) is English!

As in many great musicals, the story is flummery, expertly constructed to allow transitions between songs. The hard part is to make the singing seem the most natural thing in the world, a skill we’ve all but lost in modern movies. Fletcher’s acting training helps him here: he makes sure the characters feel real before he lets them sing. That bedrock is essential, especially when an actor is hardly a singer. Mullan’s croaking is one of the film’s odd charms.

The innovation comes from this buoyant sense of realism. When Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen made Singin’ in the Rain in 1952 they took off into flights of surrealism and stylisation, because they were largely dependent on sound stages to control light and sound. They made a virtue of artifice. We don’t need studios any more. Sunshine on Leith takes place in pubs, on the streets, in dowdy Scottish bedrooms and municipal halls. Plenty of other films have done that sort of location shooting, but Fletcher packs this one with a sense of street life. The flash mob finale, with what looks like 500 dancing Edinburghers, is about the most fun I’ve had in a cinema this year.

So if you go out, make sure you’re gonna be, you’re gonna be the man that goes along to the nearest house of projection for this joyful romp. And I’m not heavering*.

*A Scottish expression meaning to tell tales, or tall stories.

On Twitter @ptbyrnes


Sunshine on Leith

Directed by Dexter Fletcher

Written by Stephen Greenhorn

Rated PG, 100 minutes

4 stars

Och, people will think I’m heavering* when I say that this is a Scottish musical both charming and original. In fact, if there is a better Scottish musical I’ve nay seen it (and no, I don’t mean to slightBrigadoon but that was shot in the Hollywood ‘highlands’, in a well-dressed studio).

I will now suspend the fake brogue, but it will take some effort. A Hibernian ebullience has descended upon me, after watching a film that so lovingly adopts and adapts the tenets of the movie musical in order to celebrate Scottish culture. Lovers of the musical genre have had so few examples to savour since the form curled up and died in the late 1960s.

This one started as a theatre piece at Dundee Rep, a so-called jukebox musical (one that uses previously known songs), but the actor/director Dexter Fletcher does a fabulous job of transferring it to the open air. Edinburgh has rarely looked this good, from Arthur’s Seat to Princes Street Gardens. The sun really does shine on Leith (Edinburgh’s port), which must have presented major schedule difficulties.

The songs are by The Proclaimers, and of course, I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) gets a good workout, as two ex-squaddies return from an unhappy tour of Afghanistan in which their troop transport ran over an IED. Davy (George MacKay) harbours a deep sense of guilt about what happened; his friend Ally (Kevin Guthrie) just wants to settle down with Davy’s sister Liz (Freya Mavor), the love of his life. Davy’s parents, Jean and Rab (Jane Horrocks and Peter Mullan) welcome them home with relief. They are about to celebrate their 25thwedding anniversary and all is well – except that Rab discovers he has a daughter, from a secret fling just after he got married. And nurse Liz wants to go to America rather than settle down, and Davy finds himself falling for a girl who doesn’t want to get serious. Worse, Yvonne (Antonia Thomas) is English!

As in many great musicals, the story is flummery, expertly constructed to allow transitions between songs. The hard part is to make the singing seem the most natural thing in the world, a skill we’ve all but lost in modern movies. Fletcher’s acting training helps him here: he makes sure the characters feel real before he lets them sing. That bedrock is essential, especially when an actor is hardly a singer. Peter Mullan’s croaking is one of the film’s odd charms.

The innovation comes from this buoyant sense of realism. When Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen made Singin’ in the Rain in 1952 they took off into flights of surrealism and stylisation, because they were largely dependent on sound stages to control light and sound. They made a virtue of artifice. We don’t need studios any more. Sunshine on Leith takes place in pubs, on the streets, in dowdy Scottish bedrooms and municipal halls. Plenty of other films have done that sort of location shooting, but Fletcher packs this one with a sense of street life. The flash mob finale, with what looks like 500 dancing Edinburghers, is about the most fun I’ve had in a cinema this year.

So if you go out, make sure you’re gonna be, you’re gonna be the man that goes along to the nearest house of projection for this joyful romp. And I’m not heavering*.

*A Scottish expression meaning to tell tales, or tall stories.

On Twitter @ptbyrnes

 

Sunshine on Leith

Directed by Dexter Fletcher

Written by Stephen Greenhorn

Rated PG, 100 minutes

4 stars

Och, people will think I’m heavering* when I say that this is a Scottish musical both charming and original. In fact, if there is a better Scottish musical I’ve nay seen it (and no, I don’t mean to slightBrigadoon but that was shot in the Hollywood ‘highlands’, in a well-dressed studio).

I will now suspend the fake brogue, but it will take some effort. A Hibernian ebullience has descended upon me, after watching a film that so lovingly adopts and adapts the tenets of the movie musical in order to celebrate Scottish culture. Lovers of the musical genre have had so few examples to savour since the form curled up and died in the late 1960s.

This one started as a theatre piece at Dundee Rep, a so-called jukebox musical (one that uses previously known songs), but the actor/director Dexter Fletcher does a fabulous job of transferring it to the open air. Edinburgh has rarely looked this good, from Arthur’s Seat to Princes Street Gardens. The sun really does shine on Leith (Edinburgh’s port), which must have presented major schedule difficulties.

The songs are by The Proclaimers, and of course, I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) gets a good workout, as two ex-squaddies return from an unhappy tour of Afghanistan in which their troop transport ran over an IED. Davy (George MacKay) harbours a deep sense of guilt about what happened; his friend Ally (Kevin Guthrie) just wants to settle down with Davy’s sister Liz (Freya Mavor), the love of his life. Davy’s parents, Jean and Rab (Jane Horrocks and Peter Mullan) welcome them home with relief. They are about to celebrate their 25thwedding anniversary and all is well – except that Rab discovers he has a daughter, from a secret fling just after he got married. And nurse Liz wants to go to America rather than settle down, and Davy finds himself falling for a girl who doesn’t want to get serious. Worse, Yvonne (Antonia Thomas) is English!

As in many great musicals, the story is flummery, expertly constructed to allow transitions between songs. The hard part is to make the singing seem the most natural thing in the world, a skill we’ve all but lost in modern movies. Fletcher’s acting training helps him here: he makes sure the characters feel real before he lets them sing. That bedrock is essential, especially when an actor is hardly a singer. Peter Mullan’s croaking is one of the film’s odd charms.

The innovation comes from this buoyant sense of realism. When Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen made Singin’ in the Rain in 1952 they took off into flights of surrealism and stylisation, because they were largely dependent on sound stages to control light and sound. They made a virtue of artifice. We don’t need studios any more. Sunshine on Leith takes place in pubs, on the streets, in dowdy Scottish bedrooms and municipal halls. Plenty of other films have done that sort of location shooting, but Fletcher packs this one with a sense of street life. The flash mob finale, with what looks like 500 dancing Edinburghers, is about the most fun I’ve had in a cinema this year.

So if you go out, make sure you’re gonna be, you’re gonna be the man that goes along to the nearest house of projection for this joyful romp. And I’m not heavering*.

*A Scottish expression meaning to tell tales, or tall stories.

On Twitter @ptbyrnes