Upon seeing Sunshine on Leith, I was forced to take back my preconceived dread for musicals. This distaste was probably spawned after spending too many family Christmases with The Sound of Music blaring in the background. Whilst trying to maintain my masculine front, *cough*, I must admit that Sunshine on Leith kept me hungry for more.
Sunshine on Leith follows the story of two soldiers (Davy and Ally) returning home from service in Afghanistan to their hometown of Leith. The story follows the two as they adjust to life post-Afghanistan and try to find stability in their relationships and life direction. Ally (Kevin Gunthrie) returns home hoping to reignite the spark with an old flame: Davy’s sister Liz (Freya Mavor). While Davy (George Mackay) hits it off with Liz’s friend and work colleague Yvonne (Antonia Thomas), an attractive, young British woman who seems so out of place in Leith that the only way to describe her is ‘exotic’.
What I enjoyed most about Sunshine on Leith was a perfect commitment to storyline and music. My fear going into this film, was that I would not be engaged in character development and the relationships. This was quite the opposite! I found as the tension heighted to the perfect point, it was topped off by a modern-cover of a Proclaimer’s anthem. Although, I confess to not knowing half of the songs used in the movie I nevertheless, found them catchy and – if truth be told – I found myself singing along in an unbearable Scottish accent! Credit must be given to the bar scene that features the song “Over and Done With”. From the moment I saw this scene, I was so entranced that I was no longer analysing the film, but became immersed in following the synchronised story that features both conventional acting and musical storytelling.
Sunshine on Leith was a musical film that upheld itself as a slice of reality. Although in our everyday lives we do not break out into song whenever there is a disagreement in our relationship or a major life issue, this film highlighted, and reinforced in a subtle way, that life is what you make of it, regardless of your decisions.