The Proclaimers’ back catalogue makes a fine backbone for this largely fun, nicely sincere and well-staged musical. Director Dexter Fletcher deftly handles the balance between the more cutting touches of some of the Reid brothers’ lyrics and the contrived, softer sentiment of the surrounding storyline.
He gets particularly effective turns out of Mullan and Horrocks as the parents of an adrift squaddie (George MacKay) who’s returning home from a tour in Afghanistan with his best mate (Kevin Guthrie), in a tale of love, disappointment, bruised egos and the act of adapting, set against the backdrop of Scotland’s capital.
It suffers the seemingly standard issue of cinematic jukebox musicals: it crams a few too many numbers into its runtime. This, combined with the predominate focus in the last act on MacKay’s character’s relationship with his drippy love interest (Antonia Thomas), sees the film lose some of its shine by the time it gets to the band’s biggest hit at the end. That being said, the overall quality of Sunshine on Leith is thankfully a far cry from the likes of Rock of Ages and Mamma Mia!, and worth seeing for Mullan’s Tom Waits-channelling alone.
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