(1980 according to film titles, 1981 according to everyone else) Gordon John Sinclair (John Gordon Sinclair), Dee Hepburn, Clare Grogan. Dir: Bill Forsyth
Of all the movies I have seen in my life, this sometime-called “coming of age” comedy out of Scotland has had possibly the most profound impact on me. Flashback to the summer of 1982- the summer between 8th grade and high school. HBO got their hands on a copy of Gregory’s Girl and aired it constantly. After the first time I watched it, I checked the schedule and watched it every time it was on thereafter, if I was able. So what if I also recorded it and could watch it whenever I wanted? I did that too but, for some reason, watching something when it is presented to me is more special.
Oh yeah, I started off talking about Gregory’s Girl’s impact on me. Indeed, it was profound. The film is about an awkward teenage boy on his school’s football team (soccer, if you must) and his crush on, and subsequent pursuit of, a girl who tries out for that same football team (not going to Americanize that twice).
There are so many deep meanings and rich undertones in this film, which are, no doubt, why the profound impact that it had on me was so unbelievably life-changing and shallow. Did I say “shallow”? Whoops. What I meant to say was “shallow”.
From a teenage girl’s standpoint, the slight controversy of having a girl on an all-boy team was great. But that’s not what got to me. The relationship between Gregory and his little sister was wonderful. No, that’s not it either. The “well-known (scientific) fact(s)” presented in the film were very educational. Still not what made this movie’s mark on my psyche though.
So, what was it about the film that made such a notable, yet superficial, change in my life, for Pete’s sake? And to what effect? The Scottish accent. And charmingly awkward boys.
Mind you, I had heard Scottish accents before, but only as mimic or caricature, never just “this is how we talk here, no big.” I love no accent better. I never will. The Scottish accent automatically makes a man at least 17% more attractive to me.
And charmingly awkward boys? Prior to seeing Gregory’s Girl, the boys I always liked had been the obviously cute, possibly popular types. Gordon John Sinclair (later John Gordon Sinclair due to there already being a Gordon John Sinclair in Equity) as Gregory was a skinny, gangly even, charmingly awkward and awkwardly charming young man who could easily be classified as a dork. He was beautiful. He opened my eyes to the notion that boys could be uncool and still be attractive. Going into high school, this widened the field of guys I could date to a sizable portion. Or, as it turned out, it widened the field of guys on my radar who would never ask me out to a sizable portion. But that’s neither here nor there. I will always tell myself that was a “Why didn’t you say something?” thing.
I have just one question: Why wasn’t Sinclair sky-rocketed to epic worldwide fame because of this movie? I don’t know. He should have been.
Normally I fill my recommendations with interesting trivia like “this movie was made on a shoestring budget and many of the actors had to wear their own clothes in it”, or “Dee Hepburn (no relation to any more famous Hepburns) was discovered by the film’s director in a tv commercial”, or “Clare Grogan was the lead singer of Altered Images (‘Happy Birthday’, ‘I Could Be Happy’) and the film boosted her band’s career a great deal”, but I’m not going to do that this time out. I’ve chosen to stick to the trivia that it inspired in me instead.
For those who are not accustomed to a Scottish accent, you may want to turn your captions on. They speak very clearly, but Scottish(ly), so that might be an issue for some. Here’s another bit of trivia that I’m not going to include in my recommendation: this film was released to theaters in America, but they dubbed it. DUBBED IT. They felt that Americans either wouldn’t understand or wouldn’t like the Scottish accent. Cretins.
Absolutely DO watch this movie. It is one of the best films that ever came out of the UK.