Directed by: Max Giwa, Dania Pasquini | 98 minutes | musical, romance | Actors: Hannah Arterton, Giulio Berruti, Annabel Scholey, Greg Wise, Leona Lewis, Katy Brand, Danny Kirrane, Giulio Corso
Oh those wonderful eighties. The decade in which Madonna became an idol, as a young teenage girl you could still stare in love at the prettiest half of Wham! without realizing that it would never really work out between you and world famous artists like Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston were not only still alive, but were also hit after hit to their name. With successes such as “Fame”, “Flashdance” and “Dirty Dancing”, the eighties are also the years when you could not sit still in the cinema. With musical “Walking on Sunshine”, director duo Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini (known for two “StreetDance” films) bring a fitting ode to the swinging eighties.
The story of ‘Walking on Sunshine’ is even simpler than what the average Bouquet series book includes: young twenties Taylor (Hannah Arterton) leaves for a short vacation at the invitation of her sister Maddie (Annabel Scholey, too bad Hannah’s real sister Gemma is not trapped) to the Italian coast. Taylor was here already a few years ago, and then she experienced her first (holiday) love. Because she was about to start her university studies at the time, she ended her early relationship with this Raf (Giulio Berruti) at the end of this romantic summer. Maddie is overjoyed to see her sister. She has big news. Although she stayed in Italy to unwind and recover from the breakup with her bad boyfriend Doug (Greg Wise), she immediately plunged into a new relationship again. In fact, she is going to marry him! The sensible Taylor immediately questions this sudden decision, but mutual friend Lil (Katy Brand) urges her that it really is a catch. When Taylor sees who her future brother-in-law is, she is shocked: it is of course none other than Raf.
How “Walking on Sunshine” will continue can be predicted after the first ten minutes, but that doesn’t really matter. The entanglements are entertaining enough and the enthusiasm of the cast is contagious. The thin story is extremely suitable for the musical form, because the songs and dances will take you a few minutes further. While none of the already outstanding actors and actresses earn a Grammy Award for their performance, the songs are generally appropriately covered. Anyone who knows the lyrics will undoubtedly sing along during the film (they do!) And it is quite amazing how the makers have managed to incorporate all those hits so well into the story. The lyrics are often revealing. When the Italian customs officer asks Taylor at the beginning of ‘Walking on Sunshine’ if she has come to Italy for “business or pleasure” and you already hear the synthesizer tunes from Madonna’s first hit single, Taylor’s answer is of course: “Holiday!”. then sing out the whole song. Bland, but secretly funny. And that goes for the entire movie. “Walking on Sunshine” is not original (“Mamma Mia” is the obvious source of inspiration), but it is entertaining. Watch if you fancy a light-hearted feel-good film full of eye candy, great music and a happy ending.