Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An Education

Originally Posted: 17 November 2012

IMDB: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Roger Ebert: 4/4 Stars

Stars: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Emma Thompson.
Written By: Nick Hornby(screenplay), Lynn Barbor(memoir)
Directed By:  Lone Scherfig

Release Date: 
8 October 2009
Described by IMDB as:
 "In the early 1960's, sixteen year old Jenny Mellor lives with her parents in the London suburb of Twickenham. On her father's wishes, everything that Jenny does is in the sole pursuit of being accepted into Oxford, as he wants her to have a better life than he. Jenny is bright, pretty, hard working but also naturally gifted. The only problems her father may perceive in her life is her issue with learning Latin, and her dating a boy named Graham, who is nice but socially awkward. Jenny's life changes after she meets David Goldman, a man over twice her age. David goes out of his way to show Jenny and her family that his interest in her is not improper and that he wants solely to expose her to cultural activities which she enjoys. Jenny quickly gets accustomed to the life to which David and his constant companions, Danny and Helen, have shown her, and Jenny and David's relationship does move into becoming a romantic one.."

I saw this film a year or so ago and I adored it, and so began my lady-crush with Carey Mulligan. She's done a few amazing films besides this one including Never Let Me Go(which I'm actually watching right now) as well as Shame, Drive, Pride & Prejudice, Public Enemies, and Brothers. I mean really, how many young actresses have that amazing of a resume? Its such an odd film really, an older man seduces a 16 year old school girl, but theres something charming in it. I think its because most girls feel like they want something bigger and better in their lives, I know I do. Who doesn't want a romantic trip to Paris for their 17th birthday? I sure did. Unfortunately it doesn't end well, which I'm sure couldn't possibly be a spoiler, because who, while watching this film, thought "Oh yes, this will work out wonderfully for Jenny(Mulligan) and her con-artist, old-man, boyfriend."

It starts off with a young girl named Jenny(Mulligan) who is stuck in a boring, pressure-filled life with her mother and father, who only want her to focus on her school and her Latin so she can get into Oxford. She's doing just that, when she meets David(
Peter Sarsgaard). He seduces Jenny and her parents surprisingly easily. And they go out to a concert with his friends Danny(Dominic Cooper) and Helen(Rosamund Pike) and the story develops from there. They go on various trips where she discovers some things about David(Sarsgaard) that she's not happy about, but he somehow manages to convince Jenny to forget about it. This charade keeps up until she realizes, almost too late, that she has made a mistake with him. She then has to figure out if she has lost everything, or if she has enough time to life the life she always wanted, or if she's too late. 

Its almost horrifying that this film was based on a true story from a memoir written by Lynn Barbor. I mean, there's no murder or anything, its just it seems as though there were so few options for women back in the 60's, and to think it was almost all over for her is just heartbreaking. I'm trying desperately not to give too much about this film away, because I think everyone should see it, and I really don't know what else to say about it without giving the whole plot away to be honest. 

I think all there's really left to say is that the reason this film gets me so much is that when you're 16 it seems incredibly possible for something like this to happen, for you to be tricked into something you don't understand. Especially by a man who can give you everything you've ever dreamed of, the music, the travel, the glamour. If this happened in real life exactly the way it happened in the film, I can't help but think that this was almost entirely on the fault of Jenny's(Mulligan) parents. Young girls make mistaks, and lie to their parents. Adults are supposed to know better, and protect them from stupid mistakes, and bad people.

I really love this film, so I'm giving it a 9/10. Definitely worth the Oscar Nominations for Best picture and best actress for Carey Mulligan. Bravo.

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