Short Takes: Gregory's Girl (1980)

"It's hard work being in love, 'ey, especially when you don't know which girl."

A tale of unrequited love that might be masking something even greater, Scottish writer-director Bill Forsyth's sophomore film — which was made with a number of actors from the Glasgow Youth Theater — centers on a teenage boy who falls for the girl who takes his place as center forward on the school soccer team.

Focusing more on character, setting, and atmosphere than plot, Gregory's Girl, is reminiscent of one of those meandering Charlie Brown specials in the '70s where at first, you're not terribly engaged but every so often, something adorable happens out of the blue and you inexplicably find yourself wishing you could hug it.

From the fully formed fascinating supporting characters I longed to know more about — which is a damn hard feat for a writer to pull off — to wholly original moments like the one where the teens lie on the grass and dance, Gregory's Girl might take awhile to get going but its charm sneaks up on you just like a youthful romance.

Restored and transferred to Blu-ray by Film Movement Classics with care, though one might expect Forsyth's charming, guileless, tender work to play like a dated film from its era, the emotional terrain it navigates of the confusion, optimism, and frustration of first love remains as fresh as it is timeless.

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