‘Some thought should be put into the matter of what to wear.’ This snippet of dialogue is basically a mission statement for Stuart Murdoch’s impeccably styled indie musical. Indeed, the Belle and Sebastian frontman’s directing debut is so preoccupied with aesthetic that it’s difficult to take the characters seriously as people – they are more like the hazy cyphers that populate poetry or lyrics.
Olly Alexander charms as bespectacled singer-songwriter James, while Emily Browning is ethereally beautiful as Eve, a would-be musician recovering from anorexia (some may have qualms about the film’s prettification of her disease). But this pair are the stuff dreams are made of, their lives rounded with a song or two.
The plot is slight: once James and Eve move in together, a veritable Twee Pride Parade ensues, as Browning twirls fairy-like through artfully eclectic Glaswegian locations, including the Barrowland Ballroom and an OAP’s tea dance. On a kayaking trip they encounter the politest neds you’ve ever met providing some actual Scottish accents. The whole phantasmagorical enterprise is so sweetly confident that it just about gets away with its entirely casual approach to believability.