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Gregory's Girl (1981)
A Glorious Celebration of Youth
Every now and again a cinema house comes out with a film so good it makes you want to weep and this is one of those films. Set in 1980's Glasgow and featuring a typically acerbic and avant garde Glaswegian screenplay, the film concerns the adventures of Gregory (failed soccer striker cum goalie) and his pursuit of Dorothy, the dashingly glamorous new addition to the school team. The course of false love refuses to run smooth of course and Gregory reels from being stood up and jilted by Dorothy, only to be gently coerced into the waiting arms of his secret admirer, Susan. There's some superb performances in this film from the wonderfully frustrated John Gordon Sinclair as Gregory, plus Dee Hepburn as Dorothy the stunning love interest. 'Gregory's Girl' was clearly filmed between Spring and early Autumn and there's one enduringly beautiful scene where Dorothy plays keep-up with a soccer ball, shot against the maternally basking backdrop of urban Glasgow, whilst a haunting saxophone laments and chases the fading daylight, bemoaning the inevitable and eventual closure of our younger years, brief and fleeting as the scene itself. Plenty of valiant support too from Robert Buchanan as Charlie who finds himself fresh out of luck with the ladies and is therefore reduced to irritation tactics in a vain attempt to court their favours, all of which goes wrong and he attempts to hitchhike from StrathClyde to 'Caracus', where he's heard that the women out number the men by 8 to 1. Clare Grogan is slow-burningly sexy as Susan and a special mention too for Allison Forster for her brilliant betrayal of Gregory's dour and deadpan sister Madeline. Watch out for a wandering and periodic cameo penguin, some 'Olympic-challenged' track and field events and the late Chic Murray as the Headmaster .."off you go you small boys". The film also shows all the hilarious vice rackets that existed around 80's schools during lunch breaks, plus the pompous 'cock of the walk' bravado that naturally seems to accompany young men around the fairer sex. I was saddened to note that 'Gregory's Girl' was the one and only on-screen appearance that some of the cast have made and I believe that to be a crying shame as the cast was talented beyond belief. That said however, this is a magnificent statement of young love from start to finish and everyone of any age currently in love (or theoretically), ought to see it, sooner rather than later.