Film Review - Where You're Meant To Be

 

"Paul Fegan’s first feature documentary follows Scottish cult-pop raconteur and former Arab Strap frontman Aidan Moffat as he tours Scotland in 2014, performing his modern re-interpretations of old folk songs.
The ensuing film is a warm-hearted journey through music, mortality, landscape and time. It's also a moving, wry and enlightening depiction of two of Scotland's most distinct and vital voices, as they cross paths (and words)”


So you guys know how much I love a documentary, right? You can see some of my favourites HERE and HERE so when I saw the trailer for Where You're Meant To Be* I sort of already fell a little bit in love with it and couldn't wait to see the full movie and I wanted to share with you all what I thought of it....

The film started out life as more of a tour travel diary, something to document Aidan Moffat's journey touring around Scotland singing his new reworked versions of Scottish folk songs but along the way Aidan and the film’s director Paul Fegan met Shelia Stewart, one of the most renowned Scottish folk singers and the film took a different turn altogether.  Aiden thought the old folk songs, most of which Shelia made famous as her own, needed modernising.  Shelia definitely did not.

“Maybe you were right Sheila, maybe these songs don’t need me, maybe people just want to hear the comfort of something they know.  These songs are in our soil, they’re a gift from  our ancestors.  Maybe I should just shut up”
 
The connection that Aidan and Shelia had through music, that all familiar pull of old versus new, modern versus original, young versus old, that became the heart and soul of the film.

“But don’t get me wrong history’s fine. And sometimes its fun but I prefer the chaos of now and the uncertainty and potential of tomorrow”


The film is in part still a sort of rough around the edges documentary of a tour.  Aidan and his band travel to off the beaten track places in Scotland where folk music is still alive and they share their new version of classic songs to an often but not always unimpressed audience.  This tour culminates in Glasgow where the film ends too.  In between the tour footage is for me where the film really shines though. It's where we meet Sheila and hear about her life, it’s also where we are introduced to an array of characters from the towns and villages that Aidan travels to and where we get to hear from Aidan himself about what this journey and music means to him.  It’s these parts that for me make this documentary so touching, funny and pretty damn beautiful. 

The two warring Nessie hunters from loch-ness, the singing friends of Sheila, the office workers from the Barrowlands and the unbelievably beautiful yet heartbreaking moment we meet Iain who in a way steals the show with his story that he shares and not forgetting the last 15 minutes of the film that builds up to the most touching, emotional fitting ending that is just perfect in every way. These are just a few of the scenes that will stay with you long after the film has ended.


One of my favourite things about the whole film was how visually stunning it was too.  Ok, so being Scottish I'm maybe a little bit biased but the way it was all filmed, the editing, the colours, the landscape mixed in with the amazing soundtrack it really is a glorious watch.


Also I'm a sucker for some good narration, seriously blame it on being brought up on mid-90's American melodramatic teen TV shows where you can't get through a scene without the voice over quoting some Salinger or you know Britney but honestly I do truly believe that most things in life could be improved by having an inspirational voice over and thankfully this film has one of the best I've heard.  It’s all kinds of wonderful and I’m not gonna lie I'd be pretty up for Aidan Moffat just walking around narrating my life after hearing his skills in this, it’s that good people...


You know any film I recommend on here has to be really something special and this is one of the best things I've watched in a long time.  I don't know if it’s because I felt close to it, the places I'm from, the songs that I grew up listening to, the people and humour that I feel make up what it means to be Scottish but all of it combined together just made for a really, really lovely watch that I can’t recommend to you enough.


At its heart it's a simple film really, a love letter of sorts to Sheila and to Scotland old and new I guess, thanking them for always being unashamedly themselves.  A film about music, history, living and being who you are and finding out where you’re meant to be....

“And I don’t know where you’ve gone.  I can’t say where I’m going.  So here’s to where we are right now.  To all tomorrow’s travels.  And all we leave behind...”

You can catch Where You’re Meant To Be in UK cinemas from June 17th and you can have a look at the website to see where the movie will be showing and you can watch the trailer HERE

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