When Taylor (Hannah Arterton) flies to Italy to join her sister, Maddie (Annabel Scholey) on holiday, she’s not entirely surprised to find that Maddie has fallen head over heels in love with a new guy. Maddie has always been impetuous in love and has a string of failed relationships and romantic missteps behind her to prove it. Taylor is a bit taken aback, however, when she learns that Maddie plans to marry her new beau in two days. She’s downright shocked when she realizes that the man in question is Raf (Giulio Berruti), the same special someone Taylor fell in love with while on summer vacation three years earlier.
Not wanting to interfere with Maddie’s happiness, Taylor vows to keep her past with Raf a secret. Though guarded and cautious with her emotions, Taylor begins to realize this is going to be harder than expected. She still has feelings for Raf (and he for her), and the only real reason she left him behind was to do the sensible thing and finish school. With graduation behind her, the question of love moves to the forefront, but is it too late? Judging by Maddie’s ongoing erratic behavior…maybe not.
The story unfolds through a series of sudden musical numbers, and while the songs are well known and well placed, it is jarring how sudden and atonal they seem at first. It’s a weird mix of happy familiarity and, “that doesn’t sound right”. You get used to it after a bit, though, and soon enough the story and the characters win you over. The fact that songs by Madonna, Duran Duran, Human League, Bananarama, Wham!, and Cyndi Lauper punctuate every plot point just becomes gravy. Ultimately, Walking on Sunshine is a sweet story of two sisters finding themselves and finding each other.