While the crux of the film seems rooted in a determination to whip up some sympathy for Cornish patriotism, one can’t help but feel the timing of showcasing fervent separatist sentiments seems entirely uncomfortable. This woeful attempt at delivering a heart-warming tale of unlikely victories and underdog appreciation feels like a hollow tick box exercise. Unruly local rag-taggle group of undiscovered stars with no desire for a life of stardom? Check. Bright, luscious views of the British Coast and a nostalgic jingoism? Check. Will they, won’t they romance between two characters torn between worlds? Check.
Despite Daniel May and Tuppence Middleton’s best efforts, their characters’ awkward love story haemorrhages much of the film’s narrative. May’s lamentable London boy, Danny, becomes enamoured with Middleton’s maddeningly bland local girl Alwyn who, for her trouble, has a poorly written backstory involving an overprotective father and a Montague-Capulet esque feud. It’s a shame, because there is a sense that had the screenplay bothered to delve a little more into character development, the two could have at least made some aspect relatively believable. Alas, owing to Piers Ashworth and Meg Leonard’s scuppered script there is little pathos to be eeked out from what feels to be a rather wrong-footed romance.
Though there are some pleasing vocals, particularly those filmed in St Kew Parish Church, where the group originally recorded their first album, it’s hard to imagine sea shanties have the capacity to gather much of a following. The specificity of the genre of folk music ensures that the film fails to capture the same loveable charm as similar feelgood films like 'Sunshine on Leith'' achieved, purely because there’s not much for the audience to hum along to. Often, it all feels like a lacklustre 'Doc Martin' episode that should have remained shoved in a back room and left to rot in the bowels of 2010.