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(1981)

When Gregory can’t score on the football pitch, will he have more luck off it?

Directed by:

Bill Forsyth

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 87 minutes

UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: United Kingdom

If ever proof was needed that vast quantities of cash and over-the-top special effects aren't always necessary to make a truly great film, it can be found in the delightful “Gregory's Girl”.

Pieced together on a shoestring budget of just £300,000, the film's global success briefly made a star of gangly Scots youth John Gordon Sinclair and also placed the brilliant Bill Forsyth firmly on the map as one of the UK's finest contemporary directors.

Sinclair personifies the awkwardness of young love as Gregory, the mis-firing striker shunted into an uncomfortable goalkeeping role in the school football team by moustache-growing PE teacher Phil Menzies (Jake D'Arcy). The lanky-but-likeable teen is soon head-over-heels in love with the new signing brought in to fill his boots up front – nimble-footed straight-talking Dorothy (Dee Hepburn). Gregory's plans to take Dorothy out on a first-ever date don't quite go to plan – but he soon finds himself cured of his infatuation in the best way possible by secret admirer Susan (Clare Grogan).

This super-charming and wonderfully-observed tale features oodles of Forsyth's trademark banter, made all the better for its adolescent innocence and sheer simplicity. Wonderful one-liners flow from Gregory and his class-mates throughout, and look out for an unexplained kid wandering around in a penguin costume in the background! Chic Murray is hilarious in a cameo role as the piano-tinkling Headmaster with a penchant for pastries, whilst Allison Forster puts in a marvellous performance as Gregory's worldy-wise 12-year-old sister.

While the clothes and hairstyles on display might have dated, the humour and relevance of this ingenious piece of film-making haven't aged a bit.

It's Got: One of the most consistently entertaining scripts you’ll find in any movie.

It Needs: To give us some extras on the DVD – surely that’s not too much to ask for one of the most important British films ever made? An audio commentary from Bill and perhaps a documentary would have gone down a treat.

DVD Extras There aren’t any. DVD Extras Rating: 0/10

Alternatives:

2 Girls, Local Hero, That Sinking Feeling.

Summary

Coming-of-age has never been better captured by film nor simultaneously made so funny and entertaining. A triumph from start to finish.

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