The songs, arranged by musical director Paul Englishby, are performed by the cast. The Proclaimers themselves appear in a brief cameo.
The film starts in Afghanistan where an APC is on patrol while the passengers are nervous as to whether they will still be alive ("Sky Takes the Soul"), before an ambush happens. Some time later Davy Henshaw (George MacKay) and Ally (Kevin Guthrie), two recently discharged British Army servicemen, return to their homes and families in Edinburgh after a tour in Afghanistan ("I'm on my Way"). Ally returns to his girlfriend Liz (Freya Mavor), a nurse who is Davy's sister. On Davy and Ally's first night home Liz introduces Davy to her English friend and colleague Yvonne (Antonia Thomas) at a pub. Liz and Yvonne take part in some drunken story telling, a Scottish tradition ("Over and Done With"). Following from their blind date Davy and Yvonne strike up a romantic relationship ("Misty Blue") as Ally and Liz consider their future as a potential married couple ("Make my Heart Fly").
Davy's Dad Robert "Rab" Henshaw (Peter Mullan) receives a letter from, and later meets, a daughter he didn't know he had; the product of an affair early in his marriage (the mother of this affair had died and Rab secretly attends the funeral).
Ally explains to Davy that he intends to propose to Liz during the 25th wedding anniversary party for Davy's parents Rab and Jean ("Let's Get Married"). At the anniversary party Rab serenades Jean (Jane Horrocks) ("Oh Jean"). During the party, Jean discovers the letter still in Rab's jacket and is outraged at Rab's infidelity. Ally then proposes to Liz, who turns him down. A mass brawl develops and Yvonne is horrified at Davy's aggression.
Jean is horrified to hear from Rab that he intends to keep seeing his newly found daughter. Jean sends him to Coventry and he is seen sleeping on the sofa. Eventually, Jean feels guilty and blames herself for the deconstruction of her family but her colleagues at the Scottish National Gallery reassure her that none of these events were her fault ("Should have been Loved").
Meanwhile, Rab is out buying the ingredients for a special meal he intends to cook in the hopes of reconciliation with Jean. As he returns home, he suffers a heart attack on the doorstep and is admitted to hospital. Rab recovers, and Rab and Jean reconcile ("Sunshine on Leith"). Jean agrees to let Rab see his daughter and has brought her to the hospital to see him.
Yvonne and Davy have reconciled ("Then I Met You"). However, Liz and Ally's relationship has dissolved. Ally re-enlists, while Liz accepts an offer of a job nursing in Florida ("Letter from America").
After an argument with Davy, Yvonne prepares to leave Edinburgh. However, before she can reach Waverley railway station, Davy catches her and declares his commitment to her in Princes Street Gardens where they reconcile for a second time ("I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"). The scene cuts to Jean & Rab singing verses of the song to each other; Ally on patrol with the army, presumably sings to Liz whom is shown at work in America opening a letter from Ally.George MacKay as Davy Henshaw
Kevin Guthrie as Ally
Freya Mavor as Liz Henshaw
Antonia Thomas as Yvonne
Jane Horrocks as Jean Henshaw
Peter Mullan as Robert "Rab" Henshaw
Jason Flemyng as Harry Harper
Paul Brannigan as Ronnie
Paul McCole as Ewan
The film had grossed US$8,780,874 in its run as of 17 September 2014. On its first week it debuted at number three on the UK box office with £770,000. The following week it rose to number two with a weekly take of £732,296.
The film received overwhelmingly positive reviews and held a 92% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Writing a four star review in The Observer, Mark Kermode said "I shed a tear within the first 10 minutes, and spent the rest of the movie beaming like a gibbering, love-struck fool". Tara Brand writing in The Irish Times likened it to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Cath Clarke writing in Time Out described it as "a wet, sloppy dog-kiss of a film".
The film features 14 Proclaimers songs:
- "Sky Takes the Soul"
- "I'm on My Way"
- "Over and Done With"
- "Misty Blue"
- "Make My Heart Fly"
- "Let's Get Married"
- "Life with You"
- "Oh Jean"
- "Hate My Love"
- "Then I Met You"
- "Should Have Been Loved"
- "Sunshine on Leith"
- "Letter from America"
- "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
The soundtrack album features the cast recordings of these songs, plus additional music composed for the film.