Movie Review by Michael Parker
Starring: John Gordon Sinclair, Dougray Scott, Maria Doyle Kennedy
Director: Bill Forsyth
It would seem too much to expect a writer and a star to pick up where they left off twenty years ago, and continue with the same character, the same environment, the same atmosphere. But Bill Forsyth?s very late sequel, starring John Gordon Sinclair once again, manages to span the years since 1980 effortlessly.
Gregory is now an English teacher at his old school, but apparently far more interested in educating his charges in human rights and fighting for a cause, than the subtleties of Shakespeare and Burns. Or indeed the advances of fellow teacher Bel (Maria Doyle Kennedy). However, the arrival of his old school friend Fraser (Dougray Scott) proves the catalyst for a roller coaster ride on which he is a largely unwilling participant. While he battles with his own conscience regarding his involvement with one of his pupils (Carly McKinnon), events take their own course, rather jeopardising his position, and testing his practical commitment to the causes he preaches in the process.
Despite the very ordinariness of Gregory and his lifestyle, whatever humiliations and tight corners he gets himself into, somehow he always comes out with an optimistic twinkle in his eye. There is a whimsical charm about John-Gordon Sinclair that never disappears far below the surface, and it?s this that makes the interest of the two girls of the title quite understandable, and the comic scenes with the irrepressible Bel, so hilarious.
Sinclair plays this very British embarrassed hopelessness perfectly, and it seems entirely consistent with the dreaming naïve schoolboy of the original. It?s also consistent with the British school of comic humiliation, misunderstanding and faux-pas, but without lapsing into sheer farce.
Yes, it?s a charmer this one; plausible, funny and a worthy sequel, and expertly crafted too ? maybe it can even make it as far as the award-winning and worldwide success of the original.