Two posts in one week!? HAS HE GONE MAD!??!?!?!…!? Nonsense, I simply felt you’ve been a particularly good readership this week (for no justifiable reason actually) and I thought I would treat you with yet another poignant critique for both your reading pleasure and cultural education. No need to thank me, I already know I’m fantastic.
So as a change of pace I thought I might review a movie, and of the in theatre variety. This week I went out and saw An Education, a 60’s era love story directed by Lone Scherfig (of absolutely nothing notable fame) starring a rather unknown young actress Carey Mulligan with a cast of some very notable actors including Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Olivia Williams, and Emma Thompson. If you’re looking at this cast and thinking this must be some sort of art house picture…you’re very much right. In fact, I had to get myself to the most arty and small little cinema in my admittedly uncultured city to go see it. As you can probably see on the very pretty poster directly above, the story was written by Nick Hornby. Those of you unaware Nick Hornby is a famous Novelist known best for his novels About a Boy and High Fidelity, However I think it’s important to point out here that he didn’t originally write this story. It was actually originally a memoir published by Lynn Barber. There is really no significant reason for me to be telling you this in regards to the style of the writing or tone of the film, I just think it’s important because if any of you reading this are so inclined to read the book, you’ll know which one to go out and read, rather than reading the novel based on the screenplay, which merely laces the pockets of an already quite successful novelist. So on to the movie itself, The story is about one Jenny, a bright young 16-year-old girl on her way to going to Oxford to become an educated woman so she can live the live that her parents think would be best for her. En route to that glorious future Jenny encounters a charming older man named David (Sarsgaard) and is quickly swept off her feet. Before long she is skipping class to spend time with him and his friends Danny (Dominic Cooper) and Helen (Rosamund Pike) who live a carefree lifestyle seemingly devoid of boring obligations or financial woes. Seeing this lifestyle that she had never even thought existed before, Jenny begins to contemplate a future without going to Oxford. However as she learns more and more of the truth about David and his carefree lifestyle everything begins to fall apart and everything she had worked so hard for comes crashing down around her.
So now down to the fun part then, I get to tell you what I thought of it. which I like doing. Mostly because I like to write things that I think, for instance I think that puffy winter coats should be filled with marshmallows for a more delicious variant of insulation. But I digress… Joking aside I really did like this movie, it was clever, sincere, and stylish. The era was captured beautifully, with costumes and props all looking immaculate. I honestly feel that Alfred Molina really stole the show whenever he was on camera, its actually a shame that his character wasn’t featured more, he perfectly captured the essence of a worrying middle-class british father and made some incredible transitions from funny to fearsome to endearing throughout the film. To be fair, there weren’t really any weaknesses to be found in the acting, everyone was excellent, but Molina’s experience and talent was undeniably noteworthy. The story itself was an interesting one, and underneath the story of a girl enamored with the glitter of a luxurious lifestyle lay a much deeper theme of questioning social pressures and expectations, as well as self-discovery. My only complaint about the film is really it’s pacing. The story, while interesting, is pretty linear and doesn’t feature a whole lot of twists or sub-plots. It’s not really something I can fault the director for, it runs at a very reasonable 95 minutes. The problem is really that the story just needs to have more to it to make it a feature film, at least thats my opinion.