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GREGORY’S GIRL

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is something of a forgotten film, a light foreign comedy that was released in local theaters nearly 40 years ago. In fact, I’d forgotten it myself until the Film Movement label decided to give it a Blu-ray upgrade and I looked up my old review, published in the Deseret News on Nov. 30, 1982. If you’re in the mood for a light coming-of-age comedy that isn’t crass and clueless, here’s a good choice.

Gregory is 16. All he has on his mind is girls, soccer, girls, drums — oh yes, and girls.

But he’s not your “Porky’s” aggressor. He’s more your real-life shy kid who has not yet had his first kiss — or even his first date.

“Gregory’s Girl” is, consequently, not going to make anywhere near the money “Porky’s” did. But it’s a much more intimate, joyful celebration of that trauma that is first love, with more than its share of laughs.

The Scottish accents take a bit of getting used to, but this film was made entirely in Scotland, after all. And before long, you hardly notice the accents are even there.

     

Gordon John Sinclair, Dee Hepburn, 'Gregory's Girl' (1982)

Gregory, played convincingly and naturally by Gordon John Sinclair, is your average gangly teenager. He’s not much of an asset to the school soccer team, but he stays with it just the same.

And when a girl tries out for the team, upsetting tradition somewhat, he doesn’t even mind that she displaces him, bumping him down to goalie. In fact, he doesn’t even notice. Mainly because he’s convinced he’s in love with her.

But Dorothy (Dee Hepburn) doesn’t even know Gregory exists. Isn’t that the way it always is? So, with the aid of some friends, Gregory summons up the courage to finally ask Dorothy out. But that takes more than half the film — and in the end, the date turns out to be quite unlike what he had expected.

“Gregory’s Girl” is a simple film with no pretentions about itself. Puppy love and adolescence are the names of the games here, and in its own episodic, ambling way, this film is as endearing and enjoyable as any on the subject.

The characters are well drawn but inconclusive. We don’t know where they’re going or even what their most serious thoughts are. But then, how many of us really had many serious thoughts at 16?

     

Gregory gets grown-up advice from his stone-faced little sister, a 10-year-old with her own ideas about the world winningly played by young Allison Forster. There’s the eccentric soccer coach, and the even more eccentric school principal — and how about that kid in the penguin suit that seems to endlessly roam the halls?

And there are lots of witty lines (after seeing this film, “elephants” may have an altogether new meaning for you) as “Gregory’s Girl” proceeds in a manner that is every bit as unpredictable as kids themselves.

Rated PG for some mild sex talk and an expletive or two, here is, at last, an intelligent examination of young love. Charming, that’s the word to best describe it all.

Now if Hollywood would only take note. It’s too bad we had to go to Scotland to get it.