Last night I finally got to see An Education, starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Dominic Cooper & Rosamund Pike. It's an intensely stylised drama set in Twickenham in 1961, based around 16 year old Jenny (Carey Mulligan), whose aspirations of going to Oxford are scuppered when an older man takes an interest in her.
The film carries nearly as much stylistic weight as A Single Man, which is of course what drew me to it, not to mention the jaunt to Paris midway through. I also not only liked Jenny, but felt actually enamoured of her. I could relate to her plight, to do something more with her life, other than study, study, study & then work, work, work.
As Jenny puts it: "Studying is hard & boring. Teaching is hard & boring. So, what you're telling me is to be bored, & then bored, and finally bored again, but this time for the rest of my life? This whole stupid country is bored! There's no life in it, or colour, or fun! It's probably just as well the Russians are going to drop a nuclear bomb on us any day now. So my choice is to do something hard & boring, or to marry my... Jew, & go to Paris & Rome & listen to jazz, & read, & eat good food in nice restaurants, & have fun! It's not enough to educate us anymore Ms. Walters. You've got to tell us why you're doing it."
Her whirlwind affair with the nearly twice her age David (Peter Sarsgaard), made me feel a combination of hopefulness & loneliness, which was thrown into despair by the end of it. [Attempting not to give any spoilers] It was the openness to something wonderful & then the realisation that perhaps not all is as it seems & maybe things were too good to be true after all.
Regardless of the outcome, I felt drawn to this plot like a moth to a rather beautiful & cryptic flame. With quotes like "If you never do anything, you never become anyone", this film has inspired me to radically rethink my outlook on life, in a 'grab it by the balls' kind of way & I like that!
I shall also now be take up smoking, drinking coffee & having illicit affairs! Tout parfait!