LFF 2019: Our Ladies (2019) Film Review

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Adapted from Alan Warner’s 1998 novel The Sopranos and the play Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, Our Ladies follows a group of Scottish Catholic schoolgirls on a choir trip to Edinburgh. With thoughts of boys and booze during their first trip to the big city, the girls encounter eclectic characters and experience life outside of their hometown of Fort William.

When we first meet the girls, they are typical teenagers – ruled by hormones, rebellious and full of bravado. Taking place across Edinburgh, filmmaker Michael Caton-Jones nicely captures the thrill of being an unsupervised teenage girl in a city. Dressed to the nines, they are bold enough to drink, approach men and do the things that ‘grown-ups’ do without the prying eyes of their choirmaster.

Caton-Jones’ screenplay balances bitchy barbs and comedic quips while highlighting the girls’ vain attempts to act mature. Their reactions and behaviour to city life reveal their inexperience outside of Fort William, suggesting their own irresponsibility could ruin their ‘adventure’. As a result, the simple narrative offers minimal development and some of the underused characters into clichés.

Each protagonist in Our Ladies somehow rebels their Catholic education and accepts ‘sinful’ circumstances such as teen pregnancy. Driving the film are Orla (Tallulah Greive), a cancer survivor who dreams of losing her virginity; and Fionnula (Abigail Lawrie), who dwells on her sexuality behind a hard exterior. Both of them experience unlikely but tender moments, which lift Our Ladies into a surprisingly coming-of-age story.

Overall, Our Ladies brings poignancy and laughs while offering a nostalgic celebration of sisterhood.

Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Stars: Abigail Lawrie, Marli Siu, Tallulah Greive, Eve Austin, Sally Messham, Rona Morison, Kate Dickie
Runtime: 100 minutes
Country: UK

Film Rating: ★★★☆☆

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