Complete A-Z list

God Help the Girl


Stars: Emily Browning, Hannah Murray, Olly Alexander, Pierre Boulanger

Director: Stuart Murdoch

A musical set in Glasgow might get your hopes up. But Sunshine on Leith this isn't.

Its principal protagonist is Eve (Browning), in hospital getting treatment for her anorexia, but soon a two-time escapee. An aspiring songwriter, she at least takes her pills with her on the second occasion, and gets a room at a flat otherwise occupied by James (Alexander), a swimming pool attendant whose own career as a guitarist with a group has yet to take flight.

He is, of course, in love with Eve, but she is much taken with (and by) a Swiss-German musician and all-round lothario (Boulanger). Small wonder James strikes out, though, with such chat-up lines as 'I've got the constitution of an abandoned rabbit.' What does that even mean?

Through the summer, Eve writes more songs about the ordinary things in life and events she's living through. They aren't very good. But there are a lot of them, performed with wistful enthusiasm by Browning who overdoes the waifish appeal.

The whole structure of this unforgivably long film calls for singers who can act a bit rather than actors who can sing a bit. On the other hand, it would hardly give a career boost to someone like Pixie Lott, who's already done some acting. 'We should definitely fake our own deaths,' says Browning in another non-sequitur. Alas, they don't.

David Quinlan

UK 2012. UK Distributor: Metrodome. Colour by Kodak.
111 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 1.

Review date: 20 Aug 2014