Sunday, January 3, 2010

Movie Review: An Education

Some people might wonder why I do movie reviews at a more regular interval than personal blog posts. That is because like how I feel about art imitating life, films (the well-put-together sort) reflects life. In a lot of films, I found cognition in my past experiences and they give a different perspective to what I had never thought about. In films, I cease remembering where I am, who I was and at times, it's a good thing. I pick and choose my films but it doesn't mean every good film will strike a chord and every bad one will be damned because the notion of 'good' versus 'bad' is relative.

I've read some Nick Hornby and the fact that he did the screenplay for "An Education" piqued my interest. "An Education" is based on an autobiographical memoir of the same title written by the British journalist, Lynn Barber. The fact that you can read the synopsis in Wikipedia means I don't have to write one.

In Jenny Miller (Carey Mulligan), I saw some of her in the old me but yet differing by a sizeable measure. She wanted to read English at Oxford, I wanted to study English at no matter where. She wanted to fly free and look at the world, wear black in Paris and babble French -- exactly every inch of me. She thought she knew it all and the excitement of truly living (or so she and I thought) at that moment was worth giving up everything for. When she had the chance to go to classical concerts, suppers, auctions and finally even to the land, she always wanted to be in, Paris, with her beau, David Goldman (Peter Sarsgaard), it was a dream-come-true. He was whisking her away from the boring existence of school life and suffocating familial rules like a whirlwind.

From her soft, brown eyes, we saw her regarding her environment with wondrous rapture and artless guile. From the time she met him with her in the rain, her shoulder length hair limp and dripping, school uniform clinging lifelessly about her to her gradual transformation that involves womanly floral frocks, beautifully-cut coats and carelessly done-up chignons, she is but a girl disguised. When he left cowardly when confronted about his marriage, she braved up to straighten things, something I wished I had the courage to do now that I look back (and no, my situation did not involve a married man). It wouldn't do to give up, she doesn't run away and hide to cry. She carried on to fulfill her purpose. She had by then discarded the disguise and assumed back her preppy identity.

In the last scene of her riding with a male student in Oxford, she narrates:

So, I went to read English books, and did my best to avoid the speccy, spotty fate that Helen had predicted for me. I probably looked as wide-eyed, fresh, and artless as any other student...But I wasn't. One of the boys I went out with, and they really were boys, once asked me to go to Paris with him. And I told him I'd love to, I was dying to see if I'd never been."

Oh and definitely read Lynn Barber's "My Age of Innocence" at Times-Online.

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posted by The Merry Traveller at


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