Sunset Song

May 9th, 2016


Sunset Song

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Release Year: 2015

Rating: 6.2/10 ( voted)

Critic's Score: /100

Director: Terence Davies

Stars: Mark Bonnar, Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan

Spanning the 1910 decade, six years in the life of a girl named Chris, one of the numerous children of a tyrannical Scottish farmer. Years of high hopes and of disillusionment, of mirth and sorrow, of dreaming and toiling, of sweetness and violence, of love and hate, of peace and war. And in the end, the dignified loneliness of a new Chris, a woman who seems to have gone through several lives, now and forever as one with the land, the earth eternal...

Writers: Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Terence Davies, Mark Bonnar, Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan, Mark Bonnar, Agyness Deyn, Peter Mullan, Ron Donachie, Kevin Guthrie, Daniela Nardini, Jack Greenlees, Stuart Bowman, Ian Pirie, Jamie Michie, Hugh Ross, Niall Greig Fulton, Douglas Rankine, Jim Sweeney, Anthony Strachan, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mark Bonnar - Reverend Gibbon
Agyness Deyn - Chris Guthrie
Peter Mullan - John Guthrie
Ron Donachie - Uncle Tam
Kevin Guthrie - Ewan Tavendale
Daniela Nardini - Jean Guthrie
Jack Greenlees - Will Guthrie
Stuart Bowman - Alex Mutch
Ian Pirie - Chae Strachan
Jamie Michie - Mr. Kinloch
Hugh Ross - Inspector
Niall Greig Fulton - John Brigson
Douglas Rankine - Long Rob
Jim Sweeney - Preacher
Anthony Strachan - Munro

Country: UK, Luxembourg

Language: English

Release Date: 3 Jan 2015

Filming Locations: New Zealand

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The pipes played by the piper, James A. Adamson, in the closing scene were acquired from the Caledonian Society Of Uganda and were made at the turn of the century by "Glens" of Edinburgh and are therefore absolutely in keeping with the period. They were picked up after a recent visit to Uganda to play at a Burns Supper. Further trivia - the piper also took part in the BBC adaptation of Sunset Song (1971) as a young boy as an extra in one of the Arbuthnott Church scenes. See more »

At about 55:50 minutes in the main characters are standing talking in the high street as a flock of sheep moves past them. There are two of what appear to be large steel bollards on either side of the road. As the sheep progress through the scene the left hand bollard on screen wobbles as the sheep come into contact with it. See more »

User Review


Rating: 5/10

I was so looking forward to seeing this movie after becoming aware that it was being filmed, and the expectation was only heightened after filming was complete. Time seemed to drag until at last, there was a release date. Patience is a virtue. Maybe I should have used the time to re-read the book. Maybe my memories of the book are false memories. Whatever. The overriding impression I was left with after watching this move was disappointment. I felt as if somehow I'd been let down. I really wanted to be able to add this film to my top-10 list of favourite movies, because the book is probably the best Scottish novel of all time (so far, and in my humble), but this movie won't make my top-20 (even 50). The story contains several sad and tragic moments, but overall, the book is uplifting and inspiring, and amusing in lots of places. Unfortunately, apart from (some of) the sad parts, the film fails to do the book justice. It tries to lift itself out of the gloom, with a stirring score (see below) and voice-overs (which may be quotes from the book, but are more likely paraphrased extracts), but is unable to do so. I found it dreary and boring, and considered walking out at one point. My love for the book kept me in my seat. Interestingly, I was one of only seven people in the audience, on the second night of showing, in a major UK city. I found that depressing, although that's probably a reflection of the public's awareness, rather than the film's reputation (at this early stage, it has no reputation, but I'm afraid it will never have one). I don't know if this is in line for any nominations, but if there's one for the most eagerly awaited film that disappoints (sub-category: an ex-pat Teuchter from near Kinraddie) the most, here's the Oscar, already. Maybe this is one book that just can't be filmed. Having said that, I remember the BBC TV series being quite good, but that is hours and hours of viewing. So even 135 minutes isn't enough to do the book justice. *Spoiler alert: nothing to do with the plot, just detail pertaining to what should've been authentically or realistically presented, or more supportive of the 'Scottish-ness' of the film.* Apart from my general disillusionment, there were a two or three picky things that stood out for me. You'll have seen this in the trailer; the scene where the villagers stroll through the corn field on their way to the kirk. No folk from a farming community would ever walk on masse through a field of corn, barley or whatever, tramping it down (as they must). That would be almost sacrilege. Artistic licence maybe? But it adds nothing to the scene. And what's with all the screaming? It's fairly clear that nobody involved with the film has ever attended a birth. Those parts were embarrassingly bad. In addition, I felt the score was poor and even intrusive at times, where it failed to convey the emotion of the scene it accompanied, on several occasions. Furthermore, it wasn't noticeably Scottish (should it have been?), apart from the wedding scene. I guess there's a fine line between corny Scottish-ness for the sake of it (like say, in Brigadoon, for example) and Scottish-flavoured music that's sympathetic to the movie. That balance wasn't struck at all, because it erred on the side of neither option, avoiding anything (that seemed to me) overtly Scottish. And that rendition of Auld Lang Syne - do me a favour! Nobody, but nobody in Scotland ever sings "For the sake of auld lang syne." That's an Anglicisation that I've heard lots of times, but isn't even an acceptable translation from Burns' scotch vernacular. Quite apart from being an invented lyric (check it out on, it's just wrong. "We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne" – it means, for old times sake. That's a real blooper, especially when many of the cast are Scots. The best parts of the film include some of the landscape shots, where the land (Scotland or New Zealand), and rightly so as it's a feature of the book, gets a deserved prominence. But the voice-overs may not be necessary. Often, less is more. Here's it's sometimes too much. I know we have to get inside Chris' mind, but if you can't do that with visuals and dialogue (it's a movie, not a documentary), why bother making the film at all. That's my opinion. Here's my tip, see the film by all means, but make sure you read the book.


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