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Bill Forsyth returns to the romantic comedy of Gregory's Girl. Twenty years after his teenage crush on a football-mad schoolgirl, Gregory is back at his old school, teaching English. When two of his pupils uncover evil practices at a local factory they want their teacher to help them expose the wrong-doer, who happens to be Greg's old schoolfriend. Trapped between his idealism and breaking the law while trying to choose between two girls - one a schoolgirl and the other a full-blooded woman - Gregory still has some growing up to do. Written by
Film 4 library
[in a meeting with the headmaster and the police, Greg is waffling about watching badgers to explain why he was seen with Frances in the park late at night]
So what were you doing last night?
Well last night was pretty exciting, actually, because Frances had more or less promised us... You see, the thing is, I've never actually seen Frances's beaver.
"Frances's beaver"! I mean Frances's badger.
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Great film, warm, very funny, unexpectedly subversive.
A shift in outlook is neccesary to enjoy modern British films, one that somehow allows them to be seen in their own right and for their own qualities rather than by the criteria that American films are judged. Britfilm has to try hard to be gritty and finds it hard to make it, but at warmth British films can lord it over their otherwise overwhelming competitor.
This film fails not in its content but only in attaching itself to the predeccesor, so allowing it to be all to easily seen as the work of star and director somewhere near the end of their tethers. It's a couple of decades later, Gregory teaching and this time with two girls on his mind. He teaches at his school railing against human rights abuses. When students he's fired up find abuses in their midst he must face whether he's just all talk.
This is a subversive film in that there's not the usual worldly character of any American movie that you expect to do whatever he does, but a naive man boy who may still put everything on the line for principles. Maybe. It's certainly no protest-by-numbers though, being too warm. Where U.S. film may seem realistic because they're urban and gritty, this and other British films of recent years - those that don't try to match America for visceral thrills - are real because British humour reveals truths.
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