May We Always Go on Singing: Sunshine and Making Peace With the Past

For Musings, I take a look at Sunshine, a sweeping historical drama that stars Ralph Fiennes in three lead roles across three generations: grandfather, father, son.

Before rewatching the film for this piece, I’d only seen it once. I rented it on a whim in the fall of 2000, when I was a freshman at college. The video store down the street1 offered one free catalog rental every day in a different genre: comedy, drama, horror, family, etc. I went all the time, always on the lookout. I hadn’t heard of Sunshine or its writer-director, István Szabó, before then, and I’d only seen Ralph Fiennes a few years earlier in Quiz Show.2 But the film rocked me back and stayed with me, and I would find myself thinking of it regularly for years. I wanted to revisit it with older eyes, and I was happy to find it’s still beautiful, sad, operatic, and ultimately big-hearted.

May We Always Go on Singing: Sunshine and Making Peace With the Past


  1. Actual VHS tapes.

  2. I would see Schindler’s List later in 2000, and The English Patient sometime in the next year.