Set in 1996, ‘Our Ladies’ depicts a group of Catholic school girls from the Scottish Highlands town of Fort William, as they get an opportunity to go into Edinburgh for a choir competition. Best friends Orla (Tallulah Greive), Finnoula (Rona Morison), Chell (Rona Morison), Manda (Sally Messham) and Kylah (Marli Siu) take the opportunity to head out on the town to drink, party, and find some men to engage with in their debauchery. They take their class mate and frenemy Kay (Eve Austin) along for the ride.
Common as coming-of-age stories are to cinema, to this day, there still aren’t a lot of female-led comedies. So when one comes along, and it’s really this good, it’s a cause for celebration. One hopes it becomes immediately iconic, played over and over at movie nights, as friends giggle and reflect on their own younger years.
Early reviews compared ‘Our Ladies’ to the series ‘Derry Girls’, but this is a really different kettle of fish. Unlike those innocent Northern Irish teens, the Scottish youths smoke outside the school, call their teacher “Miss Condom”. One of the girls pours vodka into a two-litre bottle of coke ahead of their journey. They chat openly about shagging boys and masturbation. In fact, they’re constantly talking about getting off, and it’s a rare and welcome sight to see such a sex positive movie about young women’s experiences of doing the deed.
‘Our Ladies’ is delightful and fun, full of youthful energy and boldness. It’s playful and joyous, but also just a little sad in its looking back at a simpler time, while the ending also signals a bittersweet loss as one grows up. The strong characterisation is really impressive, each girl feeling well-rounded, and all the actresses are fantastic. They’re supported by Kate Dickie in the role of Sister Condron, and she is brilliant as well.
One doesn’t want to go too much into the detail of the plot as the twists and turns are part of the enjoyment. It recalls the works of Richard Linklater like ‘Dazed and Confused’ and ‘Everybody Wants Some’ in its nostalgic feel, banging soundtrack, and focus on a group of personalities just having the best time hanging out with one another. You’ll wish you were friends with Orla and the rest of the gang by the end of it.