22 February 2014

All that poetry and all those songs, about something that lasts no time at all

Last night I re-watched Lone Scherfig's excellent An Education, a great little film with the impossibly Hepburnesque and gamine Carey Mulligan as 16-year-old Jenny Mellor, who carries on an affair with a smooth older fellow, played with believable scoundrelish charm and a certain alien oddness by Peter Sarsgaard. (The accent is slightly wonky, but it works). The film also boasts a likeable supporting cast, particularly Alfred Molina as Jenny's blustering father ('Knowing a famous author is better than becoming one. It shows you're connected') and the lovely Rosamund Pike as the blithe and artless good-time girl Helen ('Someone told me that in about 50 years, no one will speak Latin, probably. Not even Latin people').

But having read a little more about Lynn Barber's autobiographical story on which the movie is based - a piece she wrote for Granta magazine in 2003 - I like to think the wistful, poignant ending with Jenny at Oxford might have been enlivened somewhat by the inclusion of Barber's cheerful admission on Desert Island Discs in 2010 that she slept with 'probably 50 men' during two terms at Oxford. "It was quite good going - I was just jamming them in".

I also love Scherfig's opening title sequence, which perfectly evokes the film's 1961 setting and establishes that while this is the story of a grown-up love affair, it is most definitely grounded in a schoolgirl reality. The impossibly jaunty music is On The Rebound by Floyd Cramer, an American pianist who worked in the studio with many greats including Elvis Presley, and as a solo artist topped the UK charts with this track in 1961.



See also:
Movies: State and Main, 3 February 2014
Movies: Viva Maria!, 25 November 2013
Movies: The Bling Ring, 4 August 2013
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