From time to time it will occur to me that just a century ago the lifestyle I and the people around me lead would be inconceivable. I actually said outloud the other day that a particular Starbucks was closer than Dunkin Donuts but Dunkin was more on the way but we could always go to McDonald’s if we wanted (we were getting coffee) and I thought that all these options were about three miles from my house but within a mile of each other. Take my car and my cellphone out of the equation though and none of this is an option. I’m limited by where my own feet can take me and where it’s essential for me to travel. In other words, I live an incredibly stress-free and privileged life.
Sunset Song is about the polar opposite of that. Agyness Deyn plays Chris Guthrie, a young woman in Scotland in the first part of the 20th century. Her father is what could be described as a “hard man,” ruling his family with an iron fist. She meets and marries Evan (Kevin Guthrie), a simple farmer who’s soon called off to fight in what the brewing war against Germany. So Chris needs to survive on her own and that’s the story the movie is set out to tell.
The movie’s one poster is gorgeous and contains more information than its simple design at first lets on. We see Chris standing in a field looking longingly somewhere off-camera. The landscape around her and the sky behind her is all soft hues as it tries to create a sense of hazy serenity. Chris is obviously pregnant so we can infer she’s waiting for the father to return from somewhere. Her clothes peg her as small town woman and establish the time period as definitely being early 20th century.
The first trailer opens by establishing its Irish setting. We see the family we’ll be watching is not all that family, with a father who is hard on and demands a lot from his children. But Chris finds romance with a young man in the village and they’re eventually married. But her father’s influence is still heavy. Eventually war breaks out and Chris is left on her own on her farm, needing to survive by her own strength, which seems plentiful.
It’s a really good trailer that sets up the movie well. The studio is probably trying to appeal to the same audience that made Brooklyn a word-of-mouth hit last year to some extent, otherwise this is meant to appeal to people who enjoy period drama and there are plenty of those.
Online and Social
There’s not a lot going on on the official website for the movie. A nice little recreation of the key art is at the top and just below are some immediate calls-to-action, including a list of “Theaters” the movie is playing in, a “Press Kit” to download and a prompt to “Buy Tickets.”
Below that and starting the actual marketing content is the trailer, which is worth rewatching. A rotating series of press quotes follows that you can scroll through.
Next there’s a section that includes a story synopsis in “About The Film” and a “Cast & Crew” list. After that there’s a decent “Photo Gallery” with lots of stills that really show off the look and feel of the movie.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nope, nothing in this category on either front that I’ve seen.
Media and Publicity
No, it’s not a huge campaign but it’s appropriate for the scale of the movie that it’s selling. There’s a nice brand consistency to the marketing so that the trailer, poster and other materials all look alike and appear to be selling the same movie. It’s nice, compact campaign that is meant to appeal to fans of high-art movies as well as the kind of sweeping, emotional dramas that are set against a historical backdrop.
The marketing puts the focus squarely on Agyness Deyn’s Chris, which is where it should be since it looks to be her story we’re following here. Deyn looks to give a compelling, emotional performance that should bring people in. It’s the rare (and welcome) case where the female character looks complex and interesting with an arc of her own and the men look like they’re pigeonholed into stereotypical roles that are just meant to move her story along.