Irreverent is a good word to describe St Trinian’s. It is set in a fictional boarding school for girls in the UK, which is the exact opposite what you would expect from such place. The semblance of order is totally missing; the girls are running wild and that’s the least exciting thing they do. Then a new girl arrives, who is proper in every manner and has a hard tie fitting in. Meanwhile the school has financial problems and the girls working together manage to solve it with an ingenious plan that of course goes wrong.
That’s the story in a nutshell, but what makes this movie fun is not the plot, but the characters, the music and the visuals. Rupert Everett plays both part of a brother/sister siblings and his drag personality is hilarious. Colin Firth also brings his usual emasculated form. But the real treats are the girls themselves, who act with exploding energy, sometimes literally so. The music that has an 80’s pop feel to them, but contains mostly more recent songs also fuels the rambunctious energy. The vibrant colors, the girls’ modification of their dresses, the protogoth and new-wavish props all help to create the unique blend for this envisioned place. It is fun to watch if you like any or most fo the above, but might seem annoyingly shallow if you do not. I do, so I liked the movie.
I am not exactly sure whether knowing the cultural history of the film would have changed my viewing experience. After we watched it I found out that this was far from being the first representationn of the concept. Between 1948 and 1953 five books were written about and in this fictional school. Then there were a series of movies: four between 1954 and 1966, and a less successful follow up in 1980. This makes the film I watched the sixth and a seventh is coming next year. I am looking forward to it.
(The picture below is a screenshot from the official site.)