Saturday, November 07, 2009

An Education

HMV, the CD/DVD/Music people, having decided to use the otherwise wasted space on the top floor of their Wimbledon branch, as a cafe and cinema area and having launched this with half price ticket vouchers, we went to watch the new British film "An Education" there last week. The bar manager/ticket vendor told me that business was slowly picking up. As this is so far a one off by HMV, advertsing is apparantly largely by word of mouth only. The bar anyway had a more grown up feel to it than more commercial cinema bars though we eschewed the beer/wine for chocolat chaud.

The cinema was cosily intimate and so new was pervaded by a scent akin to that of the interior of a brand new car. The 'word of mouth' comment of the barman was borne out by the presence for the afternoon showing, of only a few patrons, four of whom by coincidence were well known to us. The wife of one remarked before the film began on how most of the audience seemed of a certain age and on the absence of 'chavs'.

I knew what she meant but her comments probably owed more to the type of film and the time of day than anything else. As for the film itself:

An Education was set in the '60s. A really bright intelligent private school educated teenage school girl Carey Mulligan falls for and is seduced by spiv con man Peter Saarsgard twice her age. At first the drama and fun of the actions leading up to the seduction seemed to be glmourising the whole affair to such an extent that I felt increasingly uneasy as today such actions by the older man would be understood as unpleasant 'grooming'. The rigid but typical 1960's stance taken by the private school headmistress Emma Thompson, added to the that kind of bleakness if not blackness. However the superficially unattractive form mistress Olivia Williams, provided some early signs of possible redemption.
The girl's father and mother were portrayed as somewhat po-faced middle class parents overly concerned with money and status which they seemed complicit in securing vicariously so to speak, through their daughter's naivity.

The inevitable death in the moral sense occurred but redemption again in the moral sense ultimately prevailed and extended in my view to her dad as well as to his daughter who having been expelled from school and failed her Oxford uni entry went on, helped by Ms Williams, to learn some lessons of life and also got to Oxford.

A fine film imho.

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