Film review: Sunshine On Leith (PG)
Sunshine On Leith
IN A NUTSHELL
Director Dexter Fletcher does it again - courtesty of The Proclaimers - with a life-affirming celebration of love, family and Scotland.
The churlish would point out, as the churlish are wont to do, that this film is contrived, gauche and lightweight.
But the churlish would never go to see this movie or, if they did, they would surely undergo a change of heart and spend the rest of their days in penance, trying to choreograph an Edinburgh flashmob.
Love is very simple, says this film. And very complicated. And the junction between the two is best mapped out through a selection of lyrics appropriated from The Proclaimers.
The fact that, at some point, someone is going to be 500 miles away or that an epistle from America is on the to-do list or that Jean is called, well, Jean does not reduce the sheer wondrous joy of this soapy fare, rich in undemanding, life-affirming fun.
The underlying emotion is encapsulated in the title. Sunshine on Leith? How absurdly optimistic. But, cinematographer George Richmond places his camera where the tourist brochures advise and gets it all in the can while the skies are blue.
Director Dexter Fletcher, who captured unlikely goodness so brilliantly in Wild Bill apparently booted out songs that did not fit the dramatic premise, and yet the dramatic premise still remains eerily ripe with Proclaimer-friendly scenarios.
The absence of song would expose the drama for its diaphanous simplicity - two boys return from Afghanistan and hook up with two girls with greater or lesser success.
Meanwhile, Jean (Jane Horrocks) and Rab (Peter Mullan) are celebrating their Silver Wedding, although matters will not go smoothly (a rupture unrelated to Mullan's stab at It's Jean).
Horrocks has form with the musical and does dark and lovely things with a couple of the boys' folksy anthems.
And the four young stars (particularly twinkle-eyed newcomer Freya Mavor) bring sparkle and conviction to the absurdities.
Fletcher's confident film shamelessly colonises Mamma Mia territory where the highly improbable occurs on street corners and stairwells and everyday folk find moments of magic amid the mundane. So, seriously, what's not to love?