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Film / Walking on Sunshine

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"...But then, suddenly I knew some summer romances are meant to last forever."

Walking on Sunshine is a 2014 British Jukebox Musical romantic comedy film. It stars Hannah Arterton, Annabel Scholey, Giulio Berruti, Katy Brand, Greg Wise, Giulio Corso, Danny Kirrane, and Leona Lewis, and was directed by William Pym and Dania Pasquini. It's been described by many as the UK's answer to Mamma Mia! (despite the movie not being based on a popular stage production) and features music from popular artists from The '80s, such as Madonna and Whitney Houston.

The movie stars recent university graduate Taylor (Arterton), who is returning to Italy after three years of studying to reunite with an old boyfriend named Raf (Berruti) and meet up with her sister Maddie (Scholey). Maddie is engaged to an attractive local man and is planning to surprise her sister when she arrives, with the help of their old friends Lil (Brand), Elena (Lewis) and her Italian boyfriend Enrico (Corso), and Mickey (Kirrane), who are either visiting too or have emigrated to Italy.

After spying Raf on the beach, Taylor works up the courage to surprise him but is shocked to discover that her old boyfriend is now her sister's fiance. Taylor attempts to get over the shock and convinces herself that Raf was an old teenage fling but their mischievous friends are constantly setting everyone up for activities that force her and Raf to face each other. Meanwhile, an excited Maddie prepares for her wedding but soon reunites with an old boyfriend named Doug (Wise), who is desperate to reignite their relationship, much to her annoyance.


  • Bad Girl Song: "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and "The Wild Boys", which play during the bachelor party scenes.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Lil. She's also The Tease, who flirts with many attractive men throughout the movie.
  • Busby Berkeley Number: "Venus" becomes one during a Dream Sequence.
  • BSoD Song: Raf and Taylor with "It Must Have Been Love" through Distant Duet.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Maddie when she sees Doug's open shirt. She even hides her picture of Raf when she's indecisive on cheating on him.
    • Taylor, following Raf around during "How Will I Know".
  • The Ditz: Elena is a downplayed version. She's mostly competent but is always eavesdropped on by characters that shouldn't be listening.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: At Maddie's engagement/housewarming party, the group dance off into the courtyard singing "The Power of Love", leaving Taylor alone in the restaurant to calm her stress with shots. Raf joins her.
  • Eleven O'Clock Number: "White Wedding", as everyone races to get to the church after their wild bachelor parties.
  • Fat Comic Relief: Lil for the female characters and Mickey for the male characters.
  • Foreshadowing: During their bickering, Raf snaps at Taylor that if she was in love with him, she should've paraded it around on the rooftops. Taylor doesn't think so.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Maddie isn't ashamed to say that she hasn't known Raf for more than five weeks before she agreed to marry him. Taylor is unsurprisingly shocked.
  • The Ghost: Doug doesn't appear until the end of the first act. He's mentioned in passing by Taylor and Lil at the beginning because Maddie had recently ended their relationship, but even all of the minor characters are introduced long before Doug turns up.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Subverted. Although being complete opposites, Taylor and Maddie are very close.
    Maddie: Congrats on being the smart one.
    Taylor: Well, you'll always be better at ballet.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Taylor, who's very protective of her sister's feelings, caring, studied at university, and is very careful about her relationships. Maddie was surprised when she discovered that Taylor had a relationship with a local man when she went on holiday years before.
  • Hakuna Matata: "The Power of Love", in which Maddie sings about being happy that she's fallen in love again.
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When Maddie discovers that her fiance and her sister used to date, Taylor refuses to say that she still has feelings for Raf. Considering the knowing look she gives Taylor in the wedding scene, Maddie wasn't convinced.
  • "I Want" Song:
    • The opening number "Holiday" doesn't have the lyrics of this type of song, but Taylor's determination to reunite with her old Italian boyfriend as she sings fits the trope.
    • "How Will I Know", as well.
  • It's All About Me: Maddie, Lil and Taylor say this of Doug. Although the movie doesn't show much evidence of Doug talking about himself all the time, his actions of trying to get Maddie back without her consent imply this.
  • Jerkass: Doug. Although mentioned, we don't see his mean streak until Lil discovers that he'd arrived in Italy, in which he said that Maddie looked better when she was standing next to Lil.
  • Jukebox Musical: With hits from Madonna, George Michael, Cher, Katrina and the Waves, and Whitney Houston, to say a few.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Raf and Taylor's arguing, however, a scene before the arguing implies that Everyone Can See It: in the ring shop, the cashier offers the rings to them, making Taylor splutter that she is Raf's sister-in-law.
  • Minor Character, Major Song: Doug gets two: "Faith" and "Don't You Want Me?"
  • Missing Mom: Maddie and Taylor's mother is dead. It's never specified how long it's been since she passed, but it's implied that Maddie's promiscuousness was her coping mechanism.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Raf, especially when he emerges from the sea in "How Will I Know".
  • Quarreling Song: "Don't You Want Me?" (although, Doug is using it to win Maddie back).
  • Race for Your Love: Used, but for getting Taylor to the wedding on time so that the day goes successfully.
  • Really Gets Around: How Maddie defends her really-quick engagement to Raf.
    Maddie: [Raf] wasn't the first [man she dated when she first arrived in Italy]. He was the ... fourth.
  • Rejection Affection: Maddie snaps at Doug that she's not interested, but he isn't convinced, and even borderline stalks her back to the villa.
  • Satellite Character: Practically everyone except Maddie, Taylor, and Raf are satellite, however, they are all on holiday with each other, which justifies it, depending on interpretation.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: After the tomato festival, Raf takes Taylor to the beach and they throw themselves into the water to clean. The moment almost makes the two of them fall in love like they had three years ago.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Doug and Maddie. They never reconcile, much to Doug's annoyance.
    • During the "Walking on Sunshine" number, there is a brief moment between Lil and Mickey when Lil helps Mickey up after he tripped.
  • Shipper on Deck: Everyone towards Raf and Taylor. Maddie is revealed to be one in the final scene, too.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Raf has a few in many beach scenes, particularly "How Will I Know", when he also has a shower scene.
    • Doug in "Faith", who is trying to flirt with Maddie.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the hen party/stag do scenes, all the characters are dressed up as 1980s' music icons or other pop culture figures. Notable ones are Lil, Maddie and Taylor as memorable phases of Madonna, Enrico as George Michael, and Raf as Adam Ant.
    • The men at the hen night are dressed similar to the characters in the finale of The Full Monty, but then it's later revealed that they are actual security guards.
    • Lil's first appearance is a shout-out to Gilda:
      Maddie: (pulling her sister out to the swimming pool) Are you decent?
      Lil: (rises from deckchair and pulls down her sunglasses) Who, me?
  • Shower Scene: Raf, when he's washing the ocean off him during "How Will I Know".
  • Sidekick Song: Lil gets two: "Venus" and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun".
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: When asked, Doug stands up. Without turning around, Maddie snaps at him to sit down, but then, she eventually stops the wedding herself.
  • Thinking Out Loud: Elena talks aloud to Enrico about her concern for Maddie and Taylor, just as Maddie appears and misinterprets their conversation, leading to Elena making up a lie that digs her and Enrico deeper.
  • Third-Act Misunderstanding: There becomes an eventual pile-up of these.
    • Taylor pretends that she never knew Raf, as well as all of her old friends from three years before that decided to stay in Italy.
    • Elena being eavesdropped on by Maddie leads her to saying that she's pregnant. It turns out that she was right.
  • Why Waste a Wedding?: Averted. There is no scene of Taylor and Raf going back to the church to get married, but they reconcile on the roof of a building in the town.