It’s a feasting day for all sensations on St. Andrew’s Day, so get your dinner plate ready and celebrate Scotland’s finest cinema. Now, although Scotland has strong ties with England, it is its own force of nature in filmmaking. Countless films exploring family, morality, sense of belonging, and the human experience have come out of the likes of Scotland. And with St. Andrews’ Day upon us, what better way to revel in Scotland’s glory than to take a look at some noteworthy Scottish films of the 21st century.
Sweet Sixteen (2002)
Directed by Ken Loach, Sweet Sixteen explores the cruel circumstances thrust upon Liam, a young teenager with somewhat good intentions that is cornered into making bad decisions for the love of his mother. Breakout star, Martin Compston, won Most Promising Newcomer in 2002’s BIFA. His performance shows us just how easy it is to lose your way when you’ve never learned which direction to go.
James McAvoy really delves into the grime with this gritty film. He plays the obscene, junkie Detective Sargent Bruce Robertson battling his way to a promotion, the Scottish crime element, and his own corruption. Sex, drugs, and all things illicit, Bruce should be fighting it but he’s too damn busy enjoying it. McAvoy gives a performance that’s hard to forget, earning him Best Actor at 2013’s BIFA. He dives straight into the deep end with a morally depraved depiction of Edinburg’s finest.
Morvern Callar (2002)
Morvern’s writer boyfriend has just killed himself, what’s she to do in the midst of her grief? Steal his novel, apparently. Using the money from the novel, she leaves Scotland with her best friend to Ibiza, busying herself with a life of constant raving. This stunning and quietly reflective film shows that grief is bound to catch up eventually. Samantha Morton earned the Best Actress Award from 2002’s BIFA, and we see why.
Under The Skin (2014)
It’s hard to pinpoint a clear and succinct synopsis of this mesmerising piece of film. But let’s give it a go. Scarlet Johansson’s plays an alien entity embodying a woman in search for lonely men to seduce into a mind-bending, other-worldly, dimension where they are consumed. The visuals alone are enough to swallow you up into the trance-inducing story, but Johansson’s performance will keep you up at night.
Hallam Foe (2007)
Hallam’s loss of his mother has him in a bit of spiral. Convinced his step-mother is responsible for his mother’s death, he takes on the hobby of spying on people. Hallam’s journey of discovery takes him to Edinburg where he finds work, romance, maturity, and acceptance for what he’s looking for. This coming-of-age story reminds us why we love Jamie Bell.
John McGill is a good kid, but after needing a sense of belonging, John is swept up by the delinquency in the neighbourhood. His increasingly violent actions swiftly cause the downfall to his moral judgement, work ethic, and ultimately his place with his own family. Peter Mullan’s third film exemplifies the slippery slopes of adolescence when there is a lack of role models around.
The Angels’ Share (2013)
Director Ken Loach, yet again, doesn’t disappoint. Loach takes us on a journey of reinvention as a Robbie vows to become a better citizen and turn over a new leaf. Whiskey might seem like it’d be the downfall of his vow, but in actuality, it becomes his saving grace. This comedy is sure to give you a laugh or two and make you wish you’d have a glass of whiskey in hand to celebrate.
Enjoy the festivities of St. Andrew’s day, whether that’s feasting in Scotland, or sitting back and enjoying their films. What did you think of our list? If you think we’ve missed one, make sure to comment below.