Film Review: Gregory’s Girl – 7.5/10

‘Hard work being in love, eh? Especially when you don’t know which girl it is...’

Adolescence is a strange time because situations that are fairly trivial in the big scheme of things feel like life or death at the time. Dating and relationships as a teenager are fraught with danger but that doesn’t stop infatuations appearing seemingly from nowhere. Those first teenage crushes are often about falling in love with the idea of a person rather than the person themselves. Gregory’s Girl explores teenage obsession in a way that is wholesome, quirky and very Scottish…

Gregory (John Gordon Sinclair) falls madly in love with Dorothy (Dee Hepburn) when she takes his place in the school football team. That’s pretty much all she wrote in terms of plot. Writer-director Bill Forsyth gently probes ideas around sports and gender politics but wisely allows this to be little more than subtext in the wider world of the film. This is a film about teenage romance with gender and football merely window dressing.

Some might say that Forsyth presents an idealised version of Scotland here. All the kids are eloquent and friendly with not a can of Tennent’s in sight. But for most people, adolescence is mostly a pretty wholesome time. It helps that the young cast feel like real young people and not fully grown adults pretending to be kids and in this respect, Gregory’s Girl calls to mind other British teenage classics like Kes and If… without the hard edges that make those two movies difficult to watch at times.

I first watched Gregory’s Girl as a kid and that’s probably the best time to watch it. Other than some brief nudity in the first five minutes, this is the kind of film that anyone of any age can watch and enjoy. A gentle comedy with a lot of heart.