The achingly gorgeous composition and cinematography of Terence Davies’ Sunset Song is related to one of the key reasons I didn’t swoon over this adaptation of the Lewis Grassic Gibbon novel, about a farm girl (Agyness Deyn) who comes of age in turn-of-the-century Scotland. Rather than serving as a thematic counterpoint to the dreary reality of her life – including incidents of abuse and suicide – the visual lushness is so overpowering that it nearly comes across as clueless. Yes, the world is both beautiful and broken at the same time, but in Sunset Song – where dingy farmhouse rooms are awash with the soft glow of countless candles – these qualities seem oblivious to each other. I was also bothered by the extensive voiceover narration, which alternates between omniscient and naïve, and is often telling us something the images are already communicating. The third act, meanwhile, involves a relational shift between Deyn’s central character and the man she comes to love (Kevin Guthrie) that is obviously telegraphed by the narrative, then jarringly abrupt in its execution. Ultimately, nearly every frame in Sunset Song dazzles – including a reflective shot of a pond that shimmers like the gateway to a better world – but they’re something less when strung together.