Home Our Ladies

Our Ladies (15)

Cast: Eve Austin, Sally Messham, Tallulah Greive, Rona Morison, Marli Siu, Abigail Lawrie
Genre: Comedy
Author(s): Michael Caton-Jones, Alan Sharp
Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Release Date: 27/08/2021
Running Time: 106mins
Country: UK
Year: 2019

In 1996 Fort William, Catholic girls Chell, Finnoula, Kylah, Manda and Orla are excited to represent their school at a choir competition in Edinburgh. Sweet harmonies are the last thing on the hormone-fuelled teenagers' minds as the booze, party and flirt to excess in the Scottish capital. Their antics test the bonds of sisterly solidarity to breaking point.


LondonNet Film Review
Our Ladies (15)

In one of the era-perfect songs that accompany director Michael Caton-Jones’ raucous rites-of-passage comedy, Edinburgh-born singer-songwriter Edwyn Collins repeatedly croons, “I’ve never known a girl like you before”. We seldom meet girls like the brazen, potty-mouthed and authority-flouting lead characters in Our Ladies, a film version of Alan Warner’s award-winning 1998 novel The Sopranos, which was previously adapted for the stage by Lee Hall as Our Ladies Of Perpetual Succour. Set in 1996 (“before social media and mobile phones changed everything”), Caton-Jones’ picture witnesses the emotional devastation wrought by Catholic schoolgirls as they unapologetically cross the rubicon to womanhood and interrogate their sexual identities with vigour…

The girls’ willingness to trade on their nascent sexuality strikes a discomfiting chord in the MeToo era (lest we forget, they are minors) but the script co-written by Caton-Jones and Alan Sharp makes abundantly clear they are in control of their actions. A cast of relative unknowns led by Tallulah Greive as teenage narrator Orla embody the titular sisters of no mercy with vim and aching vulnerability, solidifying their winning screen chemistry with an end credits sing-along to Scottish rock band Big Country in a behind-the-scenes style reminiscent of Bend It Like Beckham.

“It was springtime and we had one thing on our minds: boys,” coos hormone-crazed schoolgirl Orla (Greive) in voiceover. She is in recovery from acute lymphoblastic leukaemia after a “miracle” visit to Lourdes and yearns to savour her teenage years in Fort William. “Unlike your mother, I don’t want to be a virgin all my life,” she cheekily quips to a likeness of Jesus on her bedroom wall. Orla joins salty-mouthed classmates Chell (Rona Morison), Finnoula (Abigail Lawrie), Kylah (Marli Siu) and Manda (Sally Messham) at all-girls Catholic high school Our Lady Of Perpetual Succour ahead of an outing to Edinburgh for a choir competition.

Sister Condron (Kate Dickie) is determined to protect he wards’ virtues, assisted by head girl Kay (Eve Austin). In the Scottish capital, Chell, Finnoula, Kylah, Manda and Orla down £2 shots of sambuca, flirt outrageously with Edinburgh lads and test the bonds of sisterly solidarity, occasionally blinkered to the consequences of their actions.

Almost two years on from its world premiere at the 2019 London Film Festival, Our Ladies still fizzes with energy. Full frontal male nudity is played for laughs and sex scenes are artfully and sensitively staged including a spot of al fresco experimentation that one lass amusingly refers to as “the bondage”. Dickie’s wimpled supporting performance answers prayers for sobriety and offers a note of caution to counterbalance the youthful exuberance, unleashed on location in Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands, which refuses to be tamed, rather like the characters.

– Jo Planter


London Cinemas Showing Our Ladies


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UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Our Ladies


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