Sunshine On Leith (film)
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Sunshine On Leith Film

Sunshine on Leith
Sunshine on Leith.jpg
Film poster
Directed byDexter Fletcher
Produced byBlack Camel Pictures
Written byStephen Greenhorn
StarringPeter Mullan
Jane Horrocks
George MacKay
Antonia Thomas
Freya Mavor
Music byPaul Englishby
Craig Reid
Charlie Reid
CinematographyGeorge Richmond
Edited byStuart Gazzard
Distributed byEntertainment Film Distributors (UK)
Release date
  • 9 September 2013 (2013-09-09) (TIFF)
  • 4 October 2013 (2013-10-04) (UK)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£4.1 million [1]

Sunshine on Leith is a 2013 Scottish romantic musical film directed by Dexter Fletcher. It is an adaptation of the stage musical of the same name, a jukebox musical featuring songs by The Proclaimers.[2] It was screened in the Special Presentation section at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.[2][3]

The songs, arranged by musical director Paul Englishby,[4] are performed by the cast. The Proclaimers themselves appear in a brief cameo.[5]


The film starts in Afghanistan where an APC is on patrol while the passengers are nervous as to whether they will still be alive ("Sky Takes the Soul"), before an ambush happens. Some time later Davy Henshaw (George MacKay) and Ally (Kevin Guthrie), two recently discharged British Army servicemen, return to their homes and families in Edinburgh after a tour in Afghanistan ("I'm on my Way"). Ally returns to his girlfriend Liz (Freya Mavor), a nurse who is Davy's sister. On Davy and Ally's first night home Liz introduces Davy to her English friend and colleague Yvonne (Antonia Thomas) at a pub. Liz and Yvonne take part in some drunken story telling, a Scottish tradition ("Over and Done With"). Following from their blind date Davy and Yvonne strike up a romantic relationship ("Misty Blue") as Ally and Liz consider their future as a potential married couple ("Make my Heart Fly").

Davy's Dad Robert "Rab" Henshaw (Peter Mullan) receives a letter from, and later meets, Eilidh, a daughter he didn't know he had; the product of an affair early in his marriage (the mother of this affair has just died and Rab secretly attends the funeral).

As Ally explains to Davy that he intends to propose to Liz during the 25th wedding anniversary party for Davy's parents Rab and Jean (Jane Horrocks), a bartender, who overheard the conversation offers Ally advice on how to propose ("Let's Get Married"). At the anniversary party Rab serenades Jean ("Oh Jean"). During the party, Jean discovers the letter still in Rab's jacket and is outraged at Rab's infidelity. Ally then proposes to Liz, who turns him down. A mass brawl develops and Yvonne is horrified at Davy's aggression.

Jean is horrified to hear from Rab that he intends to keep seeing his newly found daughter. Jean stops speaking to him and he is seen sleeping on the sofa. Eventually, Jean feels guilty and blames herself for the deconstruction of her family but her colleagues at the Scottish National Gallery reassure her that none of these events were her fault ("Should have been Loved").

Meanwhile, Rab is out buying the ingredients for a special meal he intends to cook in the hopes of reconciliation with Jean. As he returns home, he suffers a heart attack on the doorstep and is admitted to hospital. Rab recovers, and Rab and Jean reconcile ("Sunshine on Leith"). Jean agrees to let Rab see his daughter and has brought her to the hospital to see him.

Yvonne and Davy have reconciled ("Then I Met You"). However, Liz and Ally's relationship has dissolved. Ally re-enlists, while Liz accepts an offer of a job nursing in Florida ("Letter from America").

After an argument with Davy, Yvonne prepares to leave Edinburgh. However, before she can reach Waverley railway station, Davy catches her and declares his commitment to her in Princes Street Gardens where they reconcile for a second time ("I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"). The scene cuts to Jean & Rab singing verses of the song to each other; Ally on patrol with the army, presumably sings to Liz who is shown at work in America opening a letter from Ally.



The film had grossed US$8,780,874 in its run as of 17 September 2014.[1] On its first week it debuted at number three on the UK box office with £770,000.[6] The following week it rose to number two with a weekly take of £732,296.[7]

The film received positive reviews. It holds a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 41 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10.[8] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[9]

Writing a four star review in The Observer, Mark Kermode said "I shed a tear within the first 10 minutes, and spent the rest of the movie beaming like a gibbering, love-struck fool".[10] Tara Brand writing in The Irish Times likened it to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg[11] and Cath Clarke writing in Time Out described it as "a wet, sloppy dog-kiss of a film".[12]


Sunshine On Leith (The Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
the cast of Sunshine on Leith and Paul Englishby
Released1 October 2012
GenrePop rock, folk rock

The film features 14 Proclaimers songs:

  1. "Sky Takes the Soul"
  2. "I'm on My Way"
  3. "Over and Done With"
  4. "Misty Blue"
  5. "Make My Heart Fly"
  6. "Let's Get Married"
  7. "Life with You"
  8. "Oh Jean"
  9. "Hate My Love"
  10. "Then I Met You"
  11. "Should Have Been Loved"
  12. "Sunshine on Leith"
  13. "Letter from America"
  14. "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"

The soundtrack album features the cast recordings of these songs, plus additional music composed for the film.[13]


  1. ^ a b "Sunshine on Leith". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Sunshine on Leith Special Presentation". Toronto International Film Festival. Archived from the original on 16 August 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^ "Toronto Adds 75+ Titles To 2013 Edition". Indiewire. Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ Morgan, Emma (3 October 2013). "Sunshine On Leith". Total Film. Retrieved 2014.
  5. ^ Brocklehurst, Steven (2 October 2013). "McMamma Mia: Proclaimers follow in Abba's musical footsteps". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 2013.
  6. ^ "Prisoners locks up top spot again as UK's appetite for change diminishes". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014.
  7. ^ "Third time lucky for Prisoners, and UK box office has its worst weekend of 2013". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ "Sunshine on Leith (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 2018.
  9. ^ "Sunshine on Leith Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2018.
  10. ^ "Sunshine on Leith; Filth - review". The Observer. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ "Sunshine on Leith -- Movie news". Irish Times. Retrieved 2014.
  12. ^ "Sunshine on Leith (PG)". Time Out. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ Soundtrack album on

External links

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Music Scenes