(PG, 1:31:15, Released 1981)
|Genres:||Drama, Romance, Art House & International, Comedy|
|Release Date:||Jan 1, 1981|
|DVD Release Date:||Nov 6, 2001|
|Starring:||John Gordon Sinclair, Dee Hepburn, Jake D'Arcy, Clare Grogan, Robert Buchanan, William Greenlees, Alan Love, Caroline Guthrie, Carol Macartney, Douglas Sannachan|
|Directed by:||Bill Forsyth|
|Synopsis:||The sophomore film of Scottish director Bill Forsyth was his first international hit, a typically quirky comedy set amongst colorful Scottish teenagers. Gregory (John Gordon Sinclair) is a normal, gangly, hormonally-challenged student who, like his pals, has begun to discover the charms of the opposite sex, particularly those of Dorothy (Dee Hepburn), the new girl in school and a talented soccer player. Dorothy joins the team, and Gregory instantly becomes smitten with her. Gregory's affections are a given in spite of the fact that Dorothy is a better player than most of the boys on the hapless team, and her presence inspires a great deal of angst and embarrassment. Gregory is prepared to go to humiliating lengths in order to win Dorothy's attention, but it doesn't quite work out as he anticipates. The winner of a BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay, Gregory's Girl was followed 18 years later by a sequel, Gregory's Two Girls (1999). ~ Karl Williams, Rovi|
|Full movie details|
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Other Top Reviews
January 13, 2014
Bill Forsyth's Gregory's Girl is a bit of a cult film now in the UK. I was going to say it is thoroughly British, it's not, it's thoroughly Scottish but the 1980's, comprehensive school and life in general was like that. It really takes me back. It is a certain quirkiness that may not travel well, I'm not sure why not though, I do believe the British are the easiest of audiences or at least the least lazy. If it's good, we'll have some of it. Back to the film, the performances are great, John Gordon Sinclair steals the show by a mile but the supporting cast, specifically his mates, are also rather brilliant. Compare it to an American 'gross-out' teen comedy of today, you can't really can you. Of it's time and well worth a visit now and again. Without trying to sound rude or pompous, I honestly do pity those who don't (or don't want to) get it.
May 1, 2011
I so don't get British humor.
February 10, 2011
There is only one thing negative I could say about Gregory's Girl...it makes you sad that the innocence of first love and first dates is gone forever, and also makes me wish my school had been as cool as Gregory's. Excellent performances by all and sundry, no attempts to sacrifice realism for laughs and Clare Grogan at her prettiest. Special mention must be given to the music, wonderfully twee and with a kind of nostalgic delight. Only Bill Forsyth seems able to avoid mawkishness yet still make utterly inoffensive and delectable movies. One of my top ten favourite films and one I never stop enjoying.
January 11, 2011
This movie was disappointing, it's not that bad, it's okay, it's just disappointing. It's an interesting look at young love, but it's not funny, and the story is kind of all over the place at times. Overall, it's just okay.
March 23, 2010
Most coming-of-age films are better remembered for the careers they launched rather than their artistic merits. It's difficult to talk about The Last Picture Show, American Graffiti or Stand By Me without focusing on the breakthrough performances of Jeff Bridges, Ron Howard and Kiefer Sutherland respectively. This is largely because -- with the possible exception of The Last Picture Show -- coming-of-age films are traditionally thin on plot, focussing on the age-old quests for cars, women and money. It takes something extraordinary, like City of God, to prevent this kind of film from becoming stagnant.
Gregory's Girl is not extraordinary, at least not anymore. For not only are coming-of-age films relatively insubstantial, they also don't date very well. Ones like or dislike for such a film will depend on two things: whether it addresses the period in which you personally came of age, and whether or not it taps into any kind of 'universal truth' about the difficult passage to adulthood. Gregory's Girl attempts and generally succeeds on the second front, but it unconsciously relies on the first front so much that it is not an unqualified success.
In many ways, Gregory's Girl is an antidote to many American films aimed at teenagers from the same period, which were potty-mouthed and looked at the more putrid side of adolescence. Where Animal House, Porkies and Revenge of the Nerds were content to serve up joke after joke about bodily fluids and the female anatomy, Gregory's Girl is far more gentle, focussing on the communication barrier between girls and boys. The film opens with a voyeuristic sequence of Gregory and his friends spying on a woman taking her bra off, but it's executed in such a such an underplayed and funny way that we aren't tempted to shout "Grow up!" at the screen.
The film manages to put an interesting twist on the coming-of-age story, insofar as the younger children seem to be the most developed and mature out of everyone on screen. Gregory's younger sister, Madeleine (the 'Gregory's girl' of the title), is very mature for her age, and gives her 'hormonally challenged' brother astute tips on what to say and not say on a date. She also finds time for a teasing romance with her own suitor, although this little sub-plot is never explored for more than a couple of scenes. Contrast her maturity with the adolescent sniggering in the staffroom, where teachers boast about love letters from students and mock the PE teacher's moustache.
Bill Forsyth's film has another big strength, which is that it doesn't allow any of the background elements of production to overwhelm the emotional power of the script. The budget was so low that many of the actors wore their own clothes, and the musical score is very minimal. Save for a few jazzy sections, which sound like off-cuts from a Steely Dan album, there is no real musical accompaniment to the dialogue, which makes the awkward conversations between Dorothy and Gregory to seem all the more awkward and realistic. Compare this to American Graffiti, whose jukebox soundtrack threatens to swamp George Lucas' already stodgy direction, and it's clear as to which is the better film.
The central message of Gregory's Girl, which it delivers very solidly, is that the person we set our hearts on and fall in love with is not necessarily the person we are destined to be with. Having spent the first two thirds of the film pursuing (or attempting to pursue) Dorothy, Gregory is seemingly stood up on a date with her. Along comes one of her friends to pass on the news that something came up after school, and apologises on her behalf. Gregory is then led to a series of locations by alternating friends of Dorothy, winding up with him and Susan spending time together in the park. Susan is the first to admit that she wanted to date Gregory, and that Dorothy was simply a means of making that happen ("it's what girls do"). This is the emotional heart of the film, and is communicated without any sugary gloss or mawkish pay-off, allowing us to completely believe in the characters.
Despite these advantages, Gregory's Girl is still problematic for the precise opposite reason of its American rivals. Where Porkies or Animal House often became too grisly and sleazy to remain appealing, Gregory's Girl rises and falls on our ability to tolerate both its whimsy and its quirkiness, neither of which are easy to sustain over 90 minutes. Unlike Forsyth's later films, like Local Hero and Comfort and Joy, there is very little in the way of darkness or heartbreak to balance out the moments of head-over-heels joy, not to mention the bizarre two-scene cameo by the man dressed as a penguin. The closest the film get to the genuine heartbreak which runs throughout teenage life is where Gregory is waiting under the clock, and that too is quickly dealt with by the arrival of the other girls.
The narrative of the film is very simple, even if the pay-off is pleasantly unexpected. But its structure and focus is very meandering, with many unnecessary sub-plots being tentatively introduced and then remaining unexplored. As mentioned before, there is a fleeting suggestion of Madeleine having a relationship with a young boy of her age, who calls round to inquire about her. But after Gregory shoes him away, he never turns up again. The film could have been funnier if we saw her relationship being played out alongside Gregory's, enhancing the film's inverse relationship between sexual and emotional maturity.
Then there are the supporting characters surrounding Gregory, who seem a little underwritten . Gregory's father, his frequently unlucky school friends, his pal from cookery class, and the window cleaner with the snazzy jacket, all come and go as they please. Their incidental nature is never justified beyond a basic need to keep the story focussed on the thrill of the central chase, and yet without these believable surrounding friends the chase becomes less thrilling. Many of these characters eventually become annoying, and the ending scene of two of them trying to hitch-hike to Caracas does feel like a bolt-on.
Gregory's Girl is not Forsyth's best film, nor is it the best film about coming-of-age. But it's a happy, harmless and charming addition to the genre which has several memorable moments and a brutal honesty which in the end wins you over. It is also a timely reminder, with the recent death of John Hughes, that comedies aimed at teenagers do not need to be all crude jokes and contrived scenes of anarchy. At its worst points Gregory's Girl becomes too light and frothy for its own good, and it does play better to older viewers. But as a slice of nostalgic escapism, it's hard to fault and equally hard to hate.
July 15, 2009
adorable! a little dated (80's music and hair) but warm, quirky and hilarious. the scottish accents take some getting used to and i'm sure i didn't catch everything
May 8, 2009
.. with a little help from your friends
fb25827189January 3, 2011
All over the place as far as plot goes, there were way to many plot points and the film really could of gone in several directions. However, the cast is instantly likable and the film in my opinion is the Scottish Dazed and Confused. It captures that quirky and awkward phase young adults go through when all they think about is sex and what life has in store for them.
August 25, 2007
Cool coming of age movie.
December 21, 2010
This movie was okay. It was really hard to get used to the accents at first, and I didn't understand some of what was going on in the movie, not just because of the accents, though. The ending wasn't predictable, but it was disappointing after seeing the rest of the movie. Overall this movie wasn't bad, yet it wasn't a great movie either.
June 8, 2006
Once I got used to the Scottish brogue this wonderfully understated coming of age story completely captured me.