Home » Blog » Articles » Sunshine on Leith Review

Sunshine on Leith Review

The Proclaimers could only exist in Scotland. Two bespeckled twins from Auchtermuchty in Fife, Hibs supporters singing in broad Scots accents about places and people that those outside Scotland havne’ a clue about! How do you explain songs like Jean with the classic lines:

I’d never been lucky
With girls I confess
Don’t know who to blame
For my lack of success
‘Cause even with ones
Up the back of a bus
There was always the risk
Of a slap in the puss

So how would it be possible to take several of these quintessentially Scottish songs about love, romance, joy, bitterness and the fallenness of the human condition and weave them into a film narrative? Dead easy. Just take a couple of Scots soldiers returning from Afghanistan, have it set in Edinburgh, bring in an English love interest, a Scots girl dreaming of heading for Florida and mingle it all with 13 Proclaimers songs. It works. Superbly.

Don’t expect deep philosophy but there is enough wry human observation to get you thinking. It is joyful and sad, poignant and funny. Not a classic but totally worthwhile and a great night out. I would even go and see it again. The total star of the show is the city of Edinburgh, one of the world’s great cities that is shown in a great light. The added bonus is that there is little of the bad language, sex and violence that seem to be de rigueur for any contemporary filmmaker. I suspect it is a total contrast to Filth, the other Scottish film currently doing the rounds. No thanks. I am quite happy to come out of the cinema with a smile on my face, rather than feeling sick because I have indulged in the filth of a fallen humanity.

From a Christian perspective I have to admit there is a certain shallowness in the film, but even then it serves to point to something much deeper. Is salvation really to be found in going to Florida, getting married, sex or drink? Or even in a good Proclaimers ‘sing-a-long’?! However it would be a mistake to regard either the Reid twins or the film as shallow. There is a depth to their lyrics which at times comes close to Cohen or Dylan. None more so than in my favourite Proclaimers song, the title track of the film, Sunshine on Leith.

My heart was broken, my heart was broken
Sorrow Sorrow Sorrow Sorrow
My heart was broken, my heart was broken

You saw it, You claimed it
You touched it, You saved it

My tears are drying, my tears are drying
Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you
My tears are drying, my tears are drying

Your beauty and kindness
Made tears clear my blindness
While I’m worth my room on this earth
I will be with you
While the Chief, puts Sunshine On Leith
I’ll thank him for his work
And your birth and my birth.

The Proclaimers songs do tell us quite a lot about Scotland today. Have a look at this clip (watch it all!) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPXCNwBu_t8

Hibs have just won the Cup and what song do the 30,000 fans sing? Sunshine on Leith. None of this triumphalist rubbish about being the greatest. We have just won the cup and so we will sing about broken hearts, crying and wonder why we are here on this earth! Honestly it makes me proud to be Scottish!

Sunshine on Leith says a lot about modern Scotland and in so doing gives us a few clues as to how to bring the real Good News to the people of Scotland. I would walk 500 miles to do that!

You can read an excellent review of the film in The Telegraph.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/10353573/Sunshine-on-Leith-review.html

And see the trailer here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74WEwUnmH-Y

Go see the film and have a great fun night out!