Gregory's Girl (1981)

This comic tale of a girl-obsessed teenager in a Scottish New Town brought writer-director Bill Forsyth’s gently off-the-wall brand of character comedy to a wider audience.

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“There was scarcely a minute in the film that lacked freshness.”
Alexander Walker, National Heroes, 1985

Like Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush (1968), Gregory’s Girl uses a New Town (Cumbernauld in Scotland) as a backdrop not for alienation or family breakdown but for a fond tale of girl-obsessed adolescents. While 1980s America had Ferris Bueller, Scotland had gawky Gregory (John Gordon Sinclair). Gregory lusts hopelessly after the unattainable Dorothy (Dee Hepburn), star of the school football team, while overlooking the soulful, beret-wearing Susan (Clare Grogan).

Bill Forsyth’s breakthrough film seems less like a tightly plotted romcom than a TV sketch show, with wry vignettes of school life, quirky dialogue (“ten years old – with the body of a woman of 13!”), an affectionate eye for human foibles and – despite all its saucy talk – a touching sense of innocence.

A sequel, Gregory’s Two Girls (1999), found Gregory as a teacher at his old school. Football and girls proved a winning combination again in Bend It Like Beckham (2002).

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