Review of “Glasgow Girls” by Can Do Dumfries

We went to see the movie “Glasgow Girls” at the Robert Burns Theatre, this was part of a series of events connected to refugee week. We went as part of Can Do Dumfries Steering Group, Can Do is a Leonard Cheshire programme which supports young people aged 16 – 35 with additional support needs. For more information check out our website www.leonardcheshire.org/can-do

Before the movie, two short films were shown. These were short documentaries made by Amnesty International about a Somalian man’s journey from a Libyan refugee camp; to gaining the right to remain in Sweden. We thought the story the documenters told was interesting and compelling but how it was portrayed wasn’t captivating.

After these short films was the main film Glasgow Girls. This was originally a musical presented by the National Theatre of Scotland which was then turned into a TV drama for BBC three. This movie follows a true story of a group of girls in Drumchapel high school and their teacher along with their response to one of their classmates being suddenly detained due to her and her family being an asylum seeker. This movie was great; we really enjoyed it and found it funny. It was very informational in a humorous manner. This movie dealt with hard hitting issues such as asylum seekers, refugees, the home office’s stance on refugees, dawn raids on families, campaigning and attitudes of local people to asylum seekers in their community.

The characters who stood out to us where the teacher, and how he encouraged and supported his students. He encouraged and supported his students when they said it wasn’t right that their classmate could be suddenly detained without any notice or reasons when the family had been happily living in the community for several years while she was studying for exams. The teacher and the students worked together to create a petition for the release of their classmate Agnesa. The girls faced many setbacks in their campaign but eventually proved that it was unsafe for Agnesa and her family to return to their home country so they were allowed to stay in Scotland.

The movie focused on Amal who was the main character. The movie showed how she and her family adjusted into life in Scotland.

The character of Jennifer McCarron, stood out as her attitude changed towards deportation as she came to see how terrifying it was for her classmates to go through the anxiety of deportation. Her change of attitude really helped to get the local people on side and added power to the campaign.

We really liked the plan of the local women to help overcome the dawn raids by keeping an eye out for the police and their vans turning up. When they saw them coming they raised the alarm letting all the asylum seekers families know of the intrusion. The families then left their homes to go and have breakfast together in another part of the building whilst the police raided their flats looking for the families. Whilst this was happening, other community members gathered at the bottom of the flats to slow the police down. Towards the end of the movie this resulted in the abandonment of one raid by the police because of a peaceful protest.

Whilst all this was going on the girls where campaigning for political change. They spoke to Jack McConnell, the first minster for Scotland, who promised change but was unable to deliver it as it was voted down. However, they kept on campaigning and eventually the law was changed to stop deportation in exam time for families, followed by a complete overhaul of the deportation system to make it more humane and caring to those involved.

We would recommend that anyone who has an interest in politics should see this along with anyone who is against immigration; so they can see the other side of the agreement. Also it is a good drama and would appeal to those who like drama.