Nominated for the 2010 Oscar for Best Writing, author Nick Hornby (Fever Pitch and High Fidelity) adapts British journalist Lynn Barber's memoir about her last year in high school.
Nominated for the 2010 Oscar for Best Actress, newcomer Carey Mulligan plays Jenny, the fictionalized incarnation of Barber at age 17. She's smart, sweet, and perhaps a little sassy. She plays the cello. She loves French and Pre-Raphaelite art. She's a woman who's very worldly though has not seen much of it. She does have a Audrey Hepburn quality, as some critics have noted, as well as a Hepburn look in some scenes.
However, she's bored. She wants more for her life, perhaps even more than an Oxford education. On a rainy day, Jenny meets David, played by Peter Sarsgaard (Shattered Glass and Kinsey). David is charming and immediately starts to court her, which is creepy because he's in his thirties and she's still a virginal schoolgirl.
Jenny's father, Jack, played by Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2 and Frida) is very strict and controlling. At first, he's very weary of David, but David is able to charm Jack and his wife with stories of famous writers. After awhile, Jack is practically pushing Jenny into his arms.
David takes her on a whirlwind tour. He takes her out of her simple life and shows her a lot of fun, doing and seeing things she's never seen or done before. She's seduced, but her parents do snap her back into reality. It eventually gets to a point where Jenny has to make a choice. She could run away with David and live his fast, fun life, or she can continue her seemingly, boring studies.
Directed by Danish, female filmmaker, Lone Scherfig, the performances are well done and the material is good. There's one surprise that you don't really see coming, but the film is ultimately predictable. It's effective, but not all together memorable. It's a good first outing for Mulligan, who I'm sure we'll see in the future doing great work.
Nominated for the 2010 Oscar for Best Picture, it's in my mind one of those movies that if the Academy had not decided to extend the list to ten, it wouldn't have gotten this nod. It's good for adults or more intellectual audiences who are sick of popcorn flicks or the Avatar-craze to enjoy.
Three Stars out of Five
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and smoking
Running Time: 1 hr. and 35 mins.