As if being an awkward teenager at a high school in North Lanarkshire weren’t bad enough, Gregory’s in love. The object of his affection, Dorothy (Dee Hepburn), has recently made the football team in spite of sexist misgivings because, frankly, they need her. That pushes Gregory (John Gordon Sinclair) out of his star centre-forward position and into goal. But he’s not too bothered, because he’s in love and all that.
And what follows is the gentlest, winsomest and most British take on the high-school sex comedy you could ever ask for. There’s no interest here in crassness, stereotypes or lazy set-ups; rather, everything it does comes from a place of character – and sharply-observed character at that, which should provide everyone watching, from any background, with at least one moment of painful recollection of how it felt to be a lovelorn teenager. All of the agony and exhilaration is here in purest form, remastered in 4K for extra sharpness.
So how does it look after 40 years? Well, it was never going to be a big-screen epic, and the fact is it still looks very much like what it is, a low-budget British comedy from the early 80s. However, many of these well-loved flicks have been well-loved via inferior TV prints or degrading VHS, so this rerelease may well be an eye-opener for some. The initial series of screenings are to be accompanied with a Q&A with director Bill Forsyth, who continued his career in Scotland – and later, Hollywood – with a string of similarly charming little comedies, most notably Local Hero. But this remains the one to see.
Gregory’s Girl opened at Film Forum on October 4th.