Scottish cinema has been thriving of late, with both the film adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s, “Filth” and The Proclaimers-based musical drama, “Sunshine On Leith”, topping The Box Office and winning over fans’ and critics alike. Slightly overshadowed by Welsh’s gritty but great, “Filth”, “Sunshine On Leith” is so much more than singing and dancing . . .

Not only does “Sunshine On Leith” portray the popularity and enthusiasm of The Proclaimers and 13 examples of their work, but the references to relationships in today’s emerging middle class Scotland has shined through in valuable ways at all levels; emphasised and re-enforced by the music that touches the heart, minds and ears of the Scottish population across the generations.

The juxtaposition, and yet similarities to relationships involving young people in love to that of the older generation is almost institutional. The struggles couples have, whether it be adultery, long distance relationships, mother and daughter, father and son are all portrayed effectively, and the message that is found in the music drive this home to the audience, reminding us all that we are subject to emotions of guilt, love and hate, sometimes, all at the same time.

Scotland as a modern society is a strong influence in this film, as unemployment and unsatisfied career prospects seem to burn on the back-hob throughout. Towards the end, this idea is illustrated more through the discussion of repeated history, as unemployment has always been a problem, and may continue to be in the future.

The opening of the movie shows the return of best friends Davey and Ally from a tour of Afghanistan, and how relationships portray happiness and strength, when they arrive home and are greeted by family and Liz, Davey’s sister and Ally’s long term girlfriend. As they strut down Constitution Street in Edinburgh singing “I’m On My Way”, bumping into the Reid brothers exiting a pub, during their early cameo, the audience is reminded of patriotic values associated with the Armed Forces and family life.

Passionate relationships are a central theme, as Rab and Jean (Liz and Davey’s parents) struggle to deal with Rab’s historic dishonesty and accepting his daughter (to another woman) as a part of their lives.

The party scene illustrates and fully incorporates the Scottish culture, with traditional dress, socialising and happy gatherings; but an ever too common Scottish trait of frustration and violence creeps through into the forefront, adding to the growing tensions of relationships in an all too common aggravated manner still present within Scottish society, developed by the sad look in Rab’s eyes as he signs ‘Oh Jean’ to his wife on their 25th wedding anniversary.

Long distance relationships make a constant appearance as the audience is made aware initially due to Ally’s military service, and Liz’s ambition to move abroad for work, emphasising the constant struggle over the years of unemployment in Scotland and how its ‘Sons & Daughters’ constantly need to move elsewhere to find work.

“Sunshine On Leith” is inspirational and poignant, highlighting the same concerns that have plagued Scotland for decades, along with the frustration and depair of modern life and the safe, loving haven of family life. A must for Scotland’s cinema-goers.

“Sunshine On Leith” is out now.Watch the trailer here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74WEwUnmH-Y

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