REVIEW: LABYRINTH

CAST

David Bowie (The Last Temptation of Christ)
Jennifer Connelly (Hulk)
Christopher Malcolm (Highlander)
Shelley Thompson (Trailer Park Boys)
Frank Oz (The Empire Strikes Back)
Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf)
Kenny Baker (Star Wars)

Fifteen-year-old Sarah Williams rehearses a play in the park with her dog Merlin but becomes distracted by a line she is unable to remember while being watched by a barn owl. Realizing she is late to babysit her baby brother Toby, she rushes home and is confronted by her stepmother Irene before she and her father Robert leave for dinner. Sarah has many toys that she has grown out of and realizes that Toby is in possession of her treasured teddy bear Lancelot. Frustrated by this and his constant crying, Sarah rashly wishes Toby be taken away by the Goblin King Jareth, a character in the play she is rehearsing. She is shocked when Toby disappears and the Goblin King confronts her then transports her to his kingdom. He refuses to return the baby, but gives Sarah thirteen hours to solve his Labyrinth and find him before Toby is turned into a goblin forever. Sarah meets a dwarfish man named Hoggle, who aids her in entering the Labyrinth. She has trouble finding turns and corners but then meets a talking worm who inadvertently sends her in the wrong direction.Sarah ends up in an oubliette where she reunites with Hoggle. After they confront Jareth and escape one of his traps, the two encounter a large beast named Ludo. Hoggle cowardly flees while Sarah befriends Ludo. After another riddle, she loses him in a forest. Hoggle encounters Jareth, who gives him a peach and instructs him to give it to Sarah, calling his loyalty into question as he was supposed to lead her out of the maze. Sarah is assaulted by a group of creatures called Firies with detachable body parts who try to remove her head, but Hoggle comes to her aid. She kisses him, and Jareth magically sends them to the swamp of the Bog of Eternal Stench as punishment, where they reunite with Ludo. Sarah, Hoggle, and Ludo meet a guard of the bridge out of the swamp named Sir Didymus, an anthropomorphic Fox Terrier and his Old English Sheepdog steed named Ambrosius. After Ludo howls and summons a trail of rocks to save Sarah from falling into the bog, Didymus joins the group (Her three new friends are just like some of the toys in her room). After the group gets hungry, Hoggle gives Sarah the peach and runs away as she falls into a trance and begins to lose her memories. She has a dream where Jareth comes to her at a masquerade ball, proclaiming his love for her, but she begins to remember and escapes, falling into a junkyard. After an old Junk Lady fails to brainwash her and her memory is jogged, she is rescued by Ludo and Didymus, and they are right outside Goblin City near Jareth’s castle. They are confronted by the gate guard, but Hoggle bravely comes to their rescue. Despite his feeling unworthy of forgiveness for his betrayal, Sarah and the others welcome him back, and they enter the city together.

Jareth is alerted to their presence and sends his goblin army to stop them, but Ludo howls and summons a mountain of rocks to chase the guards away, and they enter the castle. Sarah insists she must face Jareth alone and promises to call the others if needed. In a room modeled after an Escher staircase, she confronts Jareth while trying to retrieve Toby. She recites the lines from her play, that have told her adventure to that point, but still cannot remember the last line. As Jareth begs her to obey him and he will love her, she remembers the line, “You have no power over me!” Defeated at the last second, Jareth returns Sarah and Toby home safely and turns into a barn owl, flying away.

Realizing how important Toby is to her, she gives him Lancelot and returns to her room. After she hears her father and stepmother come in, she sees her friends in the mirror and realizes even though she is growing up, she still needs them in her life every now and again. In an instant, all of the major characters from the Labyrinth appear in her room for a raucous celebration, and she reunites with Hoggle, Ludo, Didymus, and Ambrosius. As they celebrate, Jareth, in his owl form, watches from outside and then flies away into the night.This film is great, it is what makes, or made fantasy films of this time really enchanting. Real artistry was involved, there was exuberance and charm to it and it has lasted a long time. It is a firm fan favourite and still gains new young fans

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REVIEW: ANASTASIA (1997)

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CAST

Meg Ryan (Amityville 3)
John Cusack (2012)
Christopher Lloyd (Piranha 3DD)
Kelsey Grammer (Frasier)
Hank Azaria (The Simpsons)
Bernadette Peters (The Jerk)
Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man)
Angela Lansbury (Murder She Wrote)
Andrea Martin (Wag The Dog)
Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls)

In 1916, Tsar Nicholas II hosts a ball at the Catherine Palace to celebrate the Romanov tricentennial. His mother, the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna, is visiting from Paris and gives a music box and a necklace inscribed with the words “Together in Paris” as parting gifts to her youngest granddaughter, 8-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia. The ball is suddenly interrupted by the sorcerer Grigori Rasputin, the former royal advisor of the Romanovs until he was banished by Nicholas II for treason. Feeling betrayed and seeking revenge, Rasputin sold his soul in exchange for an unholy reliquary, which he uses to place a curse on the Romanov family, sparking the Russian Revolution. Only Marie and Anastasia are able to escape the ensuing siege of the palace, thanks to a young servant boy named Dimitri who shows them a secret passageway in Anastasia’s room. Rasputin confronts the two royals outside on a frozen river, only to fall through the ice and drown. The pair manage to reach a moving train, but only Marie climbs aboard while Anastasia falls, hitting her head on the platform and giving her amnesia.
Ten years later, Russia is under communist rule and Marie has publicly offered 10 million rubles for the safe return of her granddaughter. Dimitri and his friend/partner-in-crime Vladimir search for a look-alike to bring to Paris and pass off as Anastasia so they can collect the reward. Elsewhere, Anastasia, now 18 years of age and using the name “Anya”, leaves the rural orphanage where she grew up, still suffering from amnesia. Accompanied by a stray puppy she names “Pooka”, she decides to head to Saint Petersburg, inspired by the passage on the necklace she still has. She is unable to leave Russia due to not having an exit visa, but an old woman advises her to see Dimitri at the abandoned palace where he has made residence. There she encounters Dimitri and Vladimir, who are impressed by her resemblance to the “real” Anastasia and decide to take her with them to Paris.
Bartok, Rasputin’s albino bat minion, is nearby and notices his master’s dormant reliquary suddenly revived by Anastasia’s presence; it drags him to limbo, where Rasputin survives. Enraged to hear that Anastasia escaped the curse, Rasputin sends his demonic minions from the reliquary to kill her; despite two assassination attempts, the trio manage to (unwittingly) foil him, forcing Rasputin and Bartok to travel back to the surface.
Anastasia, Dimitri, and Vladimir eventually reach Paris and go to meet Marie, who has given up the search: having been nearly fooled numerous times by impostors. Despite this, Marie’s cousin, Sophie, quizzes Anastasia to confirm her identity. Though Anastasia offers every answer taught to her, Dimitri finally realizes she is the real Anastasia when she (without being taught to) vaguely recollects how he had saved her ten years prior. Sophie, also convinced of Anastasia’s identity, arranges a meeting with Marie at the Palais Garnier Opera house. There, Dimitri tries to establish an introduction but Marie refuses, having already heard of Dimitri’s initial scheme to con her. Anastasia overhears the conversation and angrily leaves, feeling used. Dimitri then kidnaps Marie and takes her to see Anastasia, showing her the music box he recovered during their escape. Anastasia finally meets Marie and regains her memories as they converse, convincing the empress of her identity. The two are joyfully reunited.
Marie offers Dimitri the reward money, but to her surprise, he refuses it and leaves for Russia. Marie realizes that Dimitri was the servant boy that saved their lives ten years ago and that he loves Anastasia. That night at Anastasia’s return celebration, Marie informs her of Dimitri’s gesture, leaving Anastasia torn between Marie and Dimitri. However, soon after Marie tells Anastasia that she can have both, Pooka suddenly runs off. Anastasia chases him to the Pont Alexandre III, where she is trapped and attacked by Rasputin. Dimitri returns to save her but is injured and knocked unconscious while Bartok abandons Rasputin. In the struggle, Anastasia manages to get hold of Rasputin’s reliquary and crushes it under her foot, destroying it and disintegrating Rasputin, who is also finally destroyed.

In the aftermath, Dimitri and Anastasia reconcile; they then elope, and Anastasia sends a farewell letter to Marie and Sophie, promising to return one day. The couple kisses on a riverboat and Bartok shares a kiss with a female bat before bidding the audience farewell.One of the last visually stunning traditional animated films with a beautifully developed story and loveable characters. Everything is wonderful– the sets, the animation, the dresses, the journey to France, Paris, the songs..

REVIEW: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (1986)

CAST

Rick Moranis (Ghostbusters)
Ellen Greene (Pushing Daisies))
Vincent Gardenia (Moonstruck)
Steve Martin (Cheaper By The Dozen)
Tichina Arnold (Wild Hogs)
Jim Belushi (Red Heat)
John Candy (Spaceballs)
Christopher Guest (The Princess Bride)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)
Miriam Margolyes (Babe)
Stanley Jones (Super Friends)
Danny John-Jules (Red Dwarf)
Seymour Krelborn (Rick Moranis) and his colleague, Audrey (Ellen Greene), work at Mushnik’s Flower Shop, lamenting they cannot escape the slums of New York City, living in a run-down, rough neighborhood referred to as “Skid Row.” Struggling from a lack of customers, Mr. Mushnik (Vincent Gardenia) prompts to close the store, only for Audrey to suggest displaying an unusual plant Seymour owns. Immediately attracting a customer, Seymour explains he bought the plant, which he dubbed “Audrey II”, from a Chinese flower shop during a solar eclipse. Attracting business to Mushnik’s shop, the plant soon starts dying, worrying Seymour. Accidentally pricking his finger, he then discovers Audrey II needs human blood to thrive.

Audrey II continues to grow rapidly and Seymour becomes a local celebrity. Seymour soon attempts to ask Audrey out, but she turns him down because she has a date with her sadistic, mean-spirited dentist boyfriend Orin Scrivello (Steve Martin). Despite this, Audrey is interested in Seymour, as well as dreams of marrying him and escaping Skid Row. After Seymour closes up shop, Audrey II (Levi Stubbs) begins to talk to Seymour, demanding more blood than Seymour can give. The plant proposes Seymour murder someone in exchange for fame and fortune: Seymour initially refuses, but agrees upon witnessing Orin beating Audrey.
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After Orin was finished with his patient, Arthur Denton (Bill Murray), who requested “a long, slow, root canal”, Seymour books an appointment with Orin and arms himself with a revolver: however, he cannot bring himself to use it. Orin, who abuses nitrous oxide, puts on a type of venturi mask to receive a constant flow of the gas. Accidentally breaking an intake valve and unable to remove the mask, Orin begs Seymour for help removing it, but as Seymour just stands there. When Orin asks Seymour what he ever did to him, Seymour coldly replies, “Nothing, it’s what you did to her.” Orin dies from asphyxiation and Seymour drags his body back to Audrey II. While dismembering the body for the plant, Seymour is unknowingly witnessed by Mushnik, who flees in fear.
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After feeding Orin’s parts to Audrey II, Seymour discovers the police investigating Orin’s disappearance. Audrey, feeling guilty about wishing Orin would disappear, is comforted by Seymour and the two admit their feelings for each other. That night, Mushnik confronts Seymour about what he saw and holds Seymour at gunpoint, threatening to report him to the police. Mushnkik then attempts to blackmail Seymour, giving the option to flee the country in exchange for the ownership of the plant. With no choice, Seymour steadily backs him towards the plant, which swallows Mushnik whole.
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Despite widespread success, Seymour worries about Audrey II’s growth and unstable appetite. Offered money and a contract for a botany TV show, Seymour plans to escape Skid Row with Audrey using the money, leaving the plant to starve. After Audrey accepts Seymour’s marriage proposal, Audrey II catches Seymour leaving and demands another meal: Seymour agrees, but insists on meat from a butcher. While Seymour is gone, the plant calls Audrey, coaxes her into the shop, and then tries to eat her. Seymour, returning in time to save Audrey, escapes the store with her. Explaining that he fed the plant to become successful and win Audrey’s heart, Seymour discovers she has always loved him. Approached by an executive from a botanical company named Patrick Martin (James Belushi), Seymour is offered a contract to breed Audrey II and sell the saplings worldwide. Seymour drives Martin away, and realizes he must destroy Audrey II for the sake of humanity.
2Returning to the shop, Seymour learns that Audrey II is actually an alien from outer space. Audrey II traps Seymour and destroys the shop, but Seymour grabs an exposed electrical cable and electrocutes Audrey II. Leaving the destroyed shop, Seymour safely reunites with Audrey. The two wed and move to the suburbs: arriving at their new home, which is the one seen in Audrey’s daydreams, a smiling Audrey II bud can be seen among the flowers in their front yard.
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Little Shop of Horrors is so amazingly special and unique, that viewing it almost transports you to another world. It’s quite possibly the best film representation of a stage musical ever made–the sets are perfect, the casting is perfect, the music is perfect, and everything else about the film is perfect

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS

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CAST

Bill Murray (Ghostbusters)
Michael Cera (Youth In Revolt)
George Clooney (The Monuments men)
Miley Cyrus (Two and a Half Men)
Rashida Jones (Cop Out)
Amy Poehler (Vlades of Glory)
Chris Rock (Dogma)
Maya Rudolph (Grown Ups)
Jason Schwartzman (Funny People)
Julie White (Transformers)

4x17-a-very-crappy-christmas-south-park-21651796-500-375On December 24, Bill Murray waits in his hotel suite at the Carlyle gradually realizing that a massive snowstorm has caused most of the guests for his live Christmas special to cancel. As time runs out his two producers, Liz (Amy Poehler), and Bev (Julie White), coerce him into going on with the show as he is financially on the hook if he cancels. With minimal crew Murray goes live but in the middle of singing a song he begins to weep and then flees the studio. While trying to leave the hotel he sees Chris Rock whom he forces into performing “Do You Hear What I Hear?” with him. During a power outage Rock flees and the producers inform Murray that as the power outage is considered an Act of God the special can now be cancelled.
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Filled with relief Murray goes to the Carlyle bar where he sings a song with an anonymous waitress (Jenny Lewis). After they hear the chefs shouting they go to investigate and realize that the French chefs (Phoenix) are overwhelmed as the fridges have stopped working and the food is about to go bad. Murray encourages them to bring the food to the bar so that the few patrons can eat it all. On his way back to the bar he passes a weeping bride (Rashida Jones) who informs him that her wedding was called off due to the cold and who is also upset because she has fought with her fiancé, Elliot.
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The French chefs sing “Alone on Christmas Day”, followed by the lounge singer (Maya Rudolph) performing “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”. Afterwards the bride comes out wheeling a cake and asks Bill Murray about his theory of love. He asks Elliot and the bride to look at one another and think of the moment when they fell in love with each other. The couple sing “I Saw the Light” and become re-engaged. At 12:01 the remaining guests at the hotel wish each other a merry Christmas and then sing “Fairytale of New York” together. At the end of the song, Murray, who had been drinking heavily, passes out.
nedvmzemhebahl_1_bWhile unconscious Murray dreams that he awakens on a beautiful set in the middle of his Christmas special. In his dream he is joined by George Clooney and Miley Cyrus. As Clooney prepares martinis, Cyrus and Murray sing “Sleigh Ride” together. After a few more musical numbers between himself, Cyrus and Clooney, Murray reawakens in his suite at the Carlyle where he realizes it is still Christmas.A Very Murray ChristmasA Very Murray Christmas is a slight chore to get into, but once it relaxes, it’s actually an enjoyably somber affair. Murray never quite overcomes the “Christmas Blues” he feels at the outset, but that’s all part of the sad sack selling point.

REVIEW: GULLIVER’S TRAVEL (1977)

 

CAST

Richard Harris (Gladiator)
Catherime Schell (Space 1999)
Julian Glover (Game of Thrones)

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4Lemuel Gulliver (Richard Harris) is a brilliant medical student living in 17th Century Bristol. His father (Norman Shelley) wants him to go to London to make his fortune; but Gulliver prefers the idea of receiving rather less pay but a heck of a lot more adventure as a ship’s surgeon aboard a ship called the ‘Antelope’. During a voyage, the ‘Antelope’ is blown off course during a storm and hits a reef. The ship sinks and everyone is lost, apart from Gulliver…. who finds himself washed ashore in the kingdom of Lilliput. When he comes round, Gulliver finds that the strange land where he has washed ashore is populated by incredibly small humans, no taller than his toe. To them, he looks like a giant. They persuade Gulliver to help them in a war against another race of tiny people who live on an adjacent island. But Gulliver doesn’t like being manipulated for purposes of war and devastation, so he makes plans to escape….

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Harris is left to carry the entire film here. His first couple of scenes involve other actors, but once he is shipwrecked in Lilliput he spends the rest of the film striding over knee-high sets and acting alongside his animated counterparts. The idea of mixing live action and animation was not new at the time, but it certainly hadn’t been done a lot.

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A few Disney movies like Song Of The South, So Dear To My Heart and Pete’s Dragon had tampered with the idea, but it was still pretty much in its infancy. “Gulliver’s Travels” is not an especially well-animated film, but the scenes showing interaction between Harris and his cartoon co-stars are at least competently done. Occasionally the film tries to be true to its satirical origins . But at its heart, this is very much a kids’ film and the satirical overtones are barely dwelled upon. a nice old fashioned kids movie

REVIEW: THE HARRY HILL MOVIE

CAST

Harry Hill (This is Jinsy)
Julie Walters (Harry Potter)
Johnny Vegas (Grimsby)
Simon Bird (The Inbetweeners)
Guillaume Delaunay (Victor Frankenstein)
Matt Lucas (Alice In wonderland)
Sheirdan Smith (The Huntsman)
Jim Broadbent (Vera Drake)

51zcd3nwyolThe movie begins with an electric scooter chase between Harry and his nan because she didn’t know it was him. Afterwards, Harry is sent to get a chicken for lunch, but they fire a machine gun at him and throw a grenade, which Harry throws into the chicken shed, blowing them up. They then discover that their beloved pet hamster Abu is ill so they take him to the vet. He is almost put down until Harry takes him back home. Ed the vet and his assistant, Kisko, are working for Harry’s neo-Nazi twin brother Otto who was abandoned by his nan in the 1970s, claiming it was because she couldn’t look after them both, and raised by dogs.
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After another failed attempt to capture Abu (by disguising as a priest and a nun), Harry and his nan decide to take him on a trip in their Rover P6 to Blackpool for a week before he dies. Ed and his assistant pursue them on the road, until they arrive in “Blackpole” by mistake. The next day, Harry and his nan take Abu on a personal guided tour around the nuclear power plant by the cleaner. Ed and Kisko attempt to capture him again only for him to end up turned into a destructive giant caused by radiation which wears off shortly. While walking on the beach they encounter Barney Cull, a member of the Shell People.
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He asks Harry and the others to save his people’s children from a gift shop. They succeed and they are invited back to the Shell People’s cave where Harry falls for the Shell King’s daughter, Michelle. He leaves after being unable to cope living under water. They continue their road trip only to end up in a boxing match where Harry has to fight Kisko to keep Abu. He successfully wins with a free stick of rock. Later on, the car runs out of petrol in the middle of the woods and Harry and his nan leave Abu behind while they search for a petrol station. He’s almost kidnapped again by Ed and Kisko only to leave the car in pieces.
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Meanwhile, Otto teams them up with a master of disguise fox. Harry, his Nan and Abu hitch a ride with Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez (actually Ed and Kisko in disguise) and they arrive in Blackpool to see a show. After they finally arrive there, Harry is reunited with Michelle (much to his Nan’s dismay) and Abu is finally kidnapped and replaced with the fox. Harry later finds out and they go looking for Abu. They follow a trail of steak barbecue hulahoops (which is what Otto was left with to eat when he was abandoned) to his hideout where he reveals his plan to turn Abu into a model figurine for his collection as an act of revenge for being deserted. During a fight between the two, Harry’s nan reveals that she got rid of Otto because she kept getting him and Harry mixed up. After being chased away by killer brains, Harry and his nan are saved by the Shell People, to which his Nan accepts his and Michelle’s love. Harry pursues his brother to the top of the Blackpool tower.
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His Nan rescues him and Abu in a helicopter when Otto falls to the ground after taking a punch from Kisko after he and Ed thought they were working for the wrong brother. After defeating Otto, Abu coughs up a green felt tip pen which turned out to be the cause of his illness. Ed explains that hamsters like sucking on pens and he gave it to Abu so he would be sick and start this whole plan, even though he could’ve kidnapped Abu at the time. Abu lives and the movie ends with a big end song with everyone in the film. Just before the final credits, a hamster appears on screen, riding on a model train. He gets off at the model station when the train stops. The hamster can only be thought to belong to Harry Hill, but there is no evidence for this.51zcd3nwyolIts a madcap, surreal, silly mayhem. The film rather lulls in the middle when you feel its run out of steam and laughs. The humor is a bit hit and miss, however switch your brain off,  and it is mildly entertaining and amusing.

REVIEW: SUNSHINE ON THE LEITH

CAST

George MacKay (Peter Pan)
Kevin Guthrie (Sunset Song)
Freya Mavor (Skins)
Antonia Thomas (Misfits)
Jane Horrocks (The Witches)
Peter Mullan (The Calm)
Jason Flemyng (X-Men: FIrst Class)
Paul Brannigan (Under The Skin)
Paul McCole (High Times)

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, a daughter he didn’t know he had; the product of an affair early in his marriage (the mother of this affair had died and Rab secretly attends the funeral).Ally explains to Davy that he intends to propose to Liz during the 25th wedding anniversary party for Davy’s parents Rab and Jean (“Let’s Get Married”). At the anniversary party Rab serenades Jean (Jane Horrocks) (“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 sends him to Coventry 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 whom is shown at work in America opening a letter from Ally.This film certainly has the feelgood factor. Great music, believable characters & storyline- it’s got them all.Certain to leave a smile on your face.