Our Ladies: Film Review

Our Ladies

Courtesy of Sony

I really wanted to see Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour on London’s West End a few years ago and now I’ve seen this film, I’m even more gutted that I didn’t because I know I would have enjoyed it so much.

This Scottish coming-of-age film, based Alan Warner‘s 1998 novel The Sopranos, which also served as the inspiration for the stage show, takes place over a single 24-hour period in 1996 and follows five friends – Orla (Tallulah Greive), Manda (Sally Messham), Chell (Rona Morison), Kylah (Marli Siu), and Fionnula (Abigail Lawrie) – from Fort William in the Scottish Highlands as they go on a trip to Edinburgh with their convent school, Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, for a choir competition. However, the girls are more interested in using the trip to the city as an opportunity to drink, go wild, and get laid, much to Sister Condron’s (Kate Dickie) despair.

These rebellious Catholic girls are a riot to watch. They are brazenly boy-mad and sex-crazy and that’s essentially what fuels the raucous mayhem. As you might expect, the hilarious script is littered with sex references, double entendres and euphemisms as the girls routinely bring their conversations back to those top three things – drinking, boys, sex. The dialogue is hilarious and I loved how each actor brought their lines to life. They all had such bold and different personalities and it was a joy to watch them interact.

It sounds like this could be a flimsy story with no meat on its bones but that’s not the case at all. This film gets darker and more serious and complex than I was expecting, with the girls recklessly getting themselves in dodgy situations and interesting subplots involving teen pregnancy, BDSM, and characters questioning their sexuality.

The film has also some fun musical numbers – but it’s not a “randomly bursting into song” musical, as the songs are generally contained within performance scenes, and these covers are always led by Kylah. I loved them all, but my standout was their rendition of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love at a karaoke bar.

I enjoyed watching all the girls as a collective but my favourite was Siu as she was super cool, had a great voice and looked like an absolute rock star onstage. Greive brought some sensitivity to the piece and the tense friendship between Chell and Fionnula was very interesting. Although the focus is on the main girls, one of the most compelling storylines revolved around head girl Kay (Eve Austin), who isn’t remotely as perfect as she seems.

Our Ladies is a lot of feel-good fun. I highly recommend.

In cinemas Friday 27th August

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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