[Last Film I Watched] Georgy Girl (1966)

Georgy Girl poster

Title: Georgy Girl
Year: 1966
Country: UK
Language: English
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director: Silvio Narizzano
Writers:
Margaret Forster
Peter Nichols
based on Ms. Forster’s novel
Music: Alexander Faris
Cinematography: Kenneth Higgins
Cast:
Lynn Redgrave
Alan Bates
James Mason
Charlotte Rampling
Bill Owen
Clare Kelly
Rachel Kempson
Denise Coffey
Dorothy Alison
Rating: 7.2/10

Georgy Girl 1966

Welcome to the swinging London in the 1960s, this is not a blasé romance comedy about the “it” girl, Meredith (Rampling, barely reaches 20), a modish violinist and party animal, but about her more plain-looking bestie-cum-roommate Georgina, aka. Georgy (Redgrave), the daughter of Ted (Owen) and Doris (Kelly), both work (as the butler and housekeeper) for a rich socialite, the 49-year-old James Leamington (Mason) – this is supposedly to a joke, right? It is impossible for Mr. Mason to pass himself off as that age, he could be well into his 60s judged by his appearance here.

Mr. Leamington has tender affection for Georgy, the young and immature daughter of his loyal butler, he has been taking her under his wings through all her life, so on the night of his 49-year-old birthday, he offers a “business” proposal to her and ask her to be his mistress. Just like that, no shame for the gaping age-difference (Georgy is 22 by the way), James is farcical but sincere, he has no pretence, but, no young girl with a scant dosage of self-esteem will say yes immediately to the amoral offer, after a tentative kiss (of course, initiated by James), Georgy starts to dodge him for an answer which she hasn’t figured out yet, in such an impressionable age, she even hadn’t been kissed before, naturally, her heart is hankering for Jos Jones (Bates), the boyfriend of Meredith, a handsome, but flaky young man.

There is an earnest agency of Georgy’s predicament, she is a misfit of the trendy milieu and deeply insecure about her modest appeal, she envies the passion between Meredith and Jos, and cannot find her toehold in the quasi ménage-à-trois situation, not until Meredith capriciously decides to keep the baby when she gets pregnant a third time and marries Jos, a radical means to alleviate the boredom of status quo, which only fiercely backfires since she is not a mother material, Rampling is smouldering with vexation and implacably flaunts her fickleness which would later become her trademark in her eclectic body of work – a chic beauty with piercing coldness and seething vehemence.

So, when Meredith ditches both her newborn girl and her hubby Jos, it seems that a nuclear family finally comes into being for Georgy, whose maternal nature has been unstoppably awaken ever since Meredith’s pregnancy, she takes the baby Sara as her own and harvests Jos’ adoration, but, can a puerile Jos take up the duty of being a father? Remember once during their habitual bickering, Meredith and Jos curse each other “bastard” and “whore”, which turns out to be quite true. Georgy must learn to accept the reality check, and things will not be too shabby for her, since James’ offer is still viable, what’s more satisfactory? He is now offering a marriage after the death of his wife.

From the skeletal structure, GEORGY GIRL dashes off as an counter-swinging-6os manifestation of a young girl who is inelegantly against the grain, aspiring to settle in a more conventional role of motherhood, which could purposefully serve as a propaganda for the conservatives to dope women back into domestic complacency, but, the film doesn’t submit to this myopia, with an uglified Lynn Redgrave carries on her star-making role fervently (she was warranted with her first Oscar nomination), and her Oscar-nominated co-star Mason’s mellifluous wooing, in the end of the day, there is a slice of life in the ugly duckling’s fairytale, she doesn’t transform to the swan simply because she is not that kind, and doesn’t stays with her knight-in-shining-armour since he is a nutcase, childish and unstable (one might find Bates’ acting style a bit laboured and jarring here), she marries more for the convenience than affection, there might not be a happy-ever-after scenario, but that’s what she can make the best of her current situation, that’s wisdom whoever lives in the real world must learn and we are glad to see her finally latch onto that, like the titular hit theme song sung by THE SEEKERS “life is a reality and you can’t always run away”, go for it! Georgy Girl!

Oscar 1966  Georgy Girl

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