Sunset Song

By Angie Raphael

Modern film fans might feel like Sunset Song lacks relevance and originality in 2016, but the epic novel by Lewis Grassic Gibbon, from which it has been adapted, was quite powerful in 1932. Set in rural Scotland before the start of World War One, Sunset Song is about Chris Guthrie (Agyness Deyn), who lives on a farm and must battle a tyrannical and violent father, and societal pressures to be free and happy. Gibbon's book somehow managed to be an empowering coming-of-age story while blending heartache, tragedy, war, sexuality and complex familial relationships. What Chris is forced to endure is really quite remarkable and it was always going to be tough to do the novel justice on-screen. Director Terence Davies has used lighting and music to great effect throughout the film to set the changing mood and Deyn gives a wonderful performance. Sunset Song is more than two hours long and the second half does feel laborious in parts. Nonetheless, it is becoming rare to see stories like this on-screen, so Sunset Song should be appreciated for doing that.