Learning by doing

Carey Mulligan learns a hard lesson

Writing a movie review is easy if you love the movie, and even easier if you hate it.  Figuring out what to say when you do neither is harder.   Yesterday we went to see An Education, which is supposed to be this really great film (scoring an impressive 95 on the tomatometer). There were 4 of us, and nobody loved it. Or hated it.  It isn’t a bad movie, I’m glad I saw it, it just isn’t great.

Carey Mulligan is a 24 year-old actress you never heard of, who does a smashing job portraying a 17 year-old schoolgirl being pushed by her phenomenally bourgeois  father (the excellent Alfred Molina) to study hard and gain entrance to Oxford. Then she meets a handsome, dashing, smooth older man (played by Peter Sarsgaard) who proceeds to sweep her off her feet, charm her parents and turn her world upside down.

Of course he has flaws, which turn up slowly.  But his virtues!!  He’s charming, attentive, apparently rich, cultured, smooth and the perfect gentleman.  He even proposes.

Then, of course, the other shoe drops.  The world collapses.  And the price of education just went up dramatically.  It isn’t just fun and games anymore, real damage has been done to her life.

But the usual trite ending wraps up the loose ends.  Goodness prevails, badness is punished.  Parental love conquers all.

Occurring in England in 1961, the set decoration is lush, the cars and clothes are beautiful.  The acting,  especially  that of Miss Mulligan,  is wonderful. If only the plot were a trifle less predictable, and the characters a trifle less overdrawn. Or more of both.  Then I’d either love or hate this movie.  But it’s pretty much down the middle here–good enough to enjoy, not quite great.  Sort of like my bridge game.

One thought on “Learning by doing

  1. Pingback: When it’s right, it’s right « Totally, completely, absolutely, unequivocally unofficial blog

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