Gregory's Girl, 1981

In the spirit of the World Cup (or perhaps it's just commiserations because my three teams are out), I present to you the footie (henceforth referred to as 'soccer') themed film, Gregory's Girl. Gregory's Girl didn't actually make it to the US until a year after it was made, but it was a staple of my early HBO viewing.

It's a simple Scottish coming of age comedy about a young man named Gregory (played by the gawkish and endearing John Gordon/Gordon John Sinclair) and his infatuation with and subsequent pursuit of the school's new soccer star, Dorothy (Dee Hepburn).

The path through the film is a wonderful road beset with twists and plots that eventually lead him to Susan (Clare Grogan), which apparently was Dorothy and Susan's plan (and as we eventually discover the teamwork of all the girls in the film) all along.

A word should be said about Clare Grogan. She was already an established Scottish pop star and leader of the band Altered Images:

She would go on to play the original Kristine Kochanski on Red Dwarf.

Gregory's world is an idyllic and slightly surreal but completely wonderful place. The film is full of little moments that keep you guessing, like the gang of toddlers outside his door greeting him by name, his baking obsessed best friend, the bathroom stalls which double as swap meet of sorts, the recurring perpetually lost person in the penguin costume who appears throughout the film, the clueless soccer coach, and so much more. The younger kids in this film are portrayed as mature, wise characters who the older kids turn to for advice, in particular Gregory's sister Madeline and her friend Richard. And most of the adults in the film display a slightly flippant, immature side, more about fun than function. Those moments make this film as a whole incredible because they don't feel odd or out of place. This is his world, his perfect world, take it or leave it--and remember to keep dancing or else you'll spin right off of it into space.

Gregory's Girl is in my top 3 favorite films of all time, and I still watch it frequently. It's timeless, magic, comedic, romantic, and just about as perfect a film as you could get. There is a sequel, Gregory's 2 Girls, which I am leery about seeing and have avoided it for the past 11 years. One day I will give in and watch it, but for now, the past 28 years of the original is enough for me.

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