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Sunshine on Leith (2013)

CRUMBLIES… 5 crumblies

Yup – The Proclaimers film. Based on a stage play-musical of the same name, this tells the story of a family and its hangers on. And it is wonderful. Old Jack skittered cheerfully into the telly room, hurling cushions and tissues onto the big sofa, because this one speaks to the emotions of the senior gentlemen. For, amongst the business of the young, it talks of the sins of the old, their love and their forgiving. With fun and songs.

Old Jack sympathises most with the Dad – the stellar Peter Mullan, playing Rab – who is twenty-five years married to Jane (Jean) Horrocks and discovers he has a twenty-four year old daughter from a brief relationship all those years ago. Jean finds out at the celebration of their ancient, successful relationship and what has been light-hearted singing steps up a gear.

There is much business around the bairns: Rab and Jean’s son Davy (innocently lovable George MacKay) falls for Yvonne (smartly warm Antonia Thomas); their daughter Lizzie (Freya Mavor‘s guilty dreamer) is torn between Davy’s Army buddy Ally (Kevin Guthrie – who is fascinating and unexpected) and the call of the wild. Scots travel and Lizzie is all about that freedom.

All the happy worlds collide into pain at the big celebration: Rab and Jean wake up; Ally proposes and Lizzie rejects; Yvonne and Davy fallout as fights erupt. It’s a telling moment, on the gorgeous streets of Edinburgh, as the men stand and watch the women walk away.

But there will be sunshine on Leith. The Proclaimers’ greatest hits catch the moods and force the storyline (yup, letters from America, ahoy; and there’s a 500 mile walk promised), but the whole thing is sweet, simple, tender in places, and left old Jack weeping from the sadness or the joy of it all. Apart from the bit where Jean sings and swings through the museum. That I liked for other reasons.

The performances took old Jack back to a fun night in an Edinburgh pub a hundred years ago. There was laughter, fun, handsome lads and bonnie lasses, and that energy that comes of family and friends in their downtime. But through it all runs the story of Rab and Jean, their lost certainty, and how they have as much to learn as all these kids.

And they do learn. And their problems, if not repaired, are addressed with courage and love. And rattlingly good songs. And dance numbers set against the most beautiful city on the planet.

The cynics were out in the home when I hit the sofa. Two hours later and it was me, the entire nursing staff, and a roaring chorus. Even old Clive was thrashing cheerily in his chair.

You’d be welcome too, dear reader.

It may just make your heart fly.

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