Gregory's Girl [1981]

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
There is something so utterly captivating about this Bill Forsyth film--whether it's the quaintness of authentic Scottish accents (softened for its U.S. release) or the wholly universal story of young love. But what really gives Gregory's Girl its evergreen appeal is the enchanting performance of young Gordon John Sinclair as the eponymous gangly lead. With his shock of red hair, he's all arms and legs--and inexperience. Gregory becomes infatuated with Dorothy (a lovely Dee Hepburn), who proves a heartier and better athlete than he is. Gregory's so clueless, he relies on advice from his wee sister. The story may be familiar, but Forsyth's astute and affectionate rendering gives the film its momentum (the film won best screenplay at the British Academy Awards). If American viewers at first struggle to understand the well-written banter, it is worth the effort because there's charm in nearly every line. It's curious that both Sinclair and Hepburn, seemingly poised on the brink of stardom here, either chose not to take advantage of the possible opportunity or weren't ever offered roles as wonderful as these. (Sinclair had a small role in Forsyth's Local Hero and starred in 1986's The Girl in the Picture and other small films. Hepburn appears to have worked only once post-Gregory, a brief stint in the British series Crossroads.) Forsyth completed a 1998 sequel, with Sinclair and Ever After's Dougray Scott. --N.F. Mendoza

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