Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wasted Postage: Reports from the Netflix Theater

An Education (2009)
Breaking a movie's meaning down to a cliche can often be the best way to identify its theme, I learned durin' ma schoolin'. So here goes: "Struggle makes success sweeter," or "Success is a journey not a destination," (or whatever the correct version of one of those sentiments are). In An Education, Jenny [Carrie Mulligan, who deserves all the praise she received for her performance, and who may soon overtake Zooey Deschanel (aren't people tired of her yet?) as every music/art-inclined boy's fantasy] is a straight A-student in '60s London with dreams of Oxford. Her parents are square but loving, and they want the best for their little princess. All this changes when an older man, David (Peter Sarsgaard), strikes up a friendship with the sophisticated-beyond-her years, French-film and jazz loving teenager. Of course, his interest is less than platonic, as is hers. He woos her with trips to France, money and a lifestyle that would have taken her hard work and labor to achieve down the road. Of course she jumps at the chance to go to exciting upper-class restaurants and night spots, the race track and other place of wine, lobster and art. But, what about her own growth, and is all that really satisfying without the personal sense of accomplishment? The film's grace and elegance carries the more obvious plot points, at times (maybe this is just because it takes place in '60s Europe) reminding of French New Wave cinema's easy cool (without the creative editing). A final twist that still allows for a Hollywood ending may be too much for a film meant to educate its title character, but An Education still remains thoughtful. B+

1 comment:

Carrie said...

This sounds good. Ill tell mom to put it on the list.