Sunshine on Leith is a musical about two recently discharged British army servicemen who return to their homes and families in Edinburgh after completing a tour in Afghanistan. Ally (Kevin Guthrie) returns to his long-term girlfriend Liz (Freya Mavor), who is a nurse. She’s also the sister of Davy (George MacKay), Ally’s fellow serviceman. Davy is introduced to Liz’s English colleague, Yvonne (Antonia Thomas), and the relationship between the two develops into a romance.

The movie also follows Davy and Liz’s parents, Rab (Peter Mullan) and Jean (Jane Horrocks). They’re celebrating their 25th anniversary. Before the celebration, Rab is shocked to receive a letter from a daughter of whom he was previously unaware.

During the anniversary party, Liz turns down a proposal from Ally in front of the large crowd, while Jean finds out about Rab’s earlier infidelity. There’s a fight, and Yvonne begins to doubt her feelings for Davy after witnessing his aggressive response. The relationships of the three couples are threatened and the movie follows what happens to each couple. 


Love and friendship; war and sacrifice; personal growth and independence; infidelity


Sunshine on Leith has some violence. For example:

  • As some soldiers are travelling in a truck during the war, there are gunshots and the screen fades to white. It looks like the truck was hit.
  • Davy goes to visit a friend and fellow ex-serviceman who is undergoing physical therapy. The soldier has lost both legs during the war.
  • At the party, Ally punches and beats up another man who insults him after Liz turns down his proposal.
  • Davy also gets involved in the fight at the party and begins shoving another man. He nearly hits Yvonne in the process.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

Children in this age group are likely to be disturbed by the violent scenes described above. 

From 8-13

Younger children in this age group might also be disturbed by the violent scenes described above.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in Sunshine on Leith

Sexual references

Sunshine on Leith has several sexual references. For example:

  • Liz tells Yvonne that her date Davy is ‘just going to be staring at your tits’.
  • While singing karaoke in a bar, one woman stands up and says that it feels as though her ‘sex life is all history’.
  • Liz drags Ally into a bathroom at the bar, presumably to have sex.
  • Characters talk about Rab having an affair and a daughter resulting from this. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Sunshine on Leith shows some use of substances. For example, characters often meet in a bar and have lots of drinks, including shots and beer. 

Nudity and sexual activity

Sunshine on Leith has some mild sexual activity. For example:

  • Liz and Ally kiss briefly.
  • Yvonne and Davy kiss after their date. 

Product placement

None of concern 

Coarse language

Sunshine on Leith has some mild coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Sunshine on Leith is based on a stage musical that depicts the joys and problems of relationships.

It tells the story of a group of people who must decide between what they want, what is best for them, and what their loved ones expect of them. It speaks about the importance of freedom, but also highlights the need to give people second chances and learn how to forgive.

Although younger viewers are likely to enjoy the lively musical scenes, the movie’s themes, violence and sexual references make it more suitable for a teenage and adult audience.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about:

  • war and how soldiers are aware that each day could be their last one in a battle zone
  • infidelity and the difficulties of marriage
  • employment and life direction for young adults.