Sunset Song is a classic Scottish novel, part of a trilogy by Lewis Grassic Gibbon and much loved by many, many people (including my wife).
I confess to having not read it, so had no particular expectations when approaching this movie which happens to have been made possible by two of my friends, Bob Last and Ginnie Atkinson.
It will divide audiences because the pace is slow.
But I loved it.
Much media attention has focussed on the casting of supermodel come actor Agyness Deyn (completely contrived name) as a Mancunian playing a seminal Scottish role but I have to say I liked her performance, and her accent. The scene in which she learns of her husband’s war news is particularly well acted.
Of course this movie is about Terence Davies. He makes very few but when he does they tend to be statements about British life and, for me, this is another great entry in his canon of work.
Davies could have made a feminist statement through Deyn’s character, had she been more assertive, but he resists the temptation and instead reflects the male dominance of relationships in the early 20th century (leading up to and including the first world war).
Two and a bit hours, with zero action, and not much dialogue can’t be most people’s cup of tea (much has been made of the regular return to a certain corn field but, you know what, I didn’t care).
It is a languid and lovely observation of a lifestyle that is long past and male dominated.
Special mentions for the ever brilliant Peter Mullan (a beastly father) and a great performance by Kevin Guthrie as the husband of the central character.