June 8, 2011

An Education

protest 1977.jpg
Thanks, Jenny, you made it all possible

This is the movie poster for An Education:

AnEducation.jpg

If this looks terribly adorable, then there are spoilers below.  If not, then there are no spoilers below.  Take a minute and think it over.

The movie is about a 16 year old girl in 1961 Britain, in her final year of "gymnasium" or A-Levels or sixth form or whatever they call it over there, wanting to "read English at Oxford."

Her father, an unsophisticated, stuffy, and concrete man, wants her to go to Oxford.  Period.   Not learn Latin or study mathematics or play the cello-- which he insists she do-- but do those things solely because they will get her into Oxford.  He relaxes in a suit and tie and drinks only on Christmas.  In other words, he's an American parent. Yes, just like Amy Chua, which is why your reactions to them are identical.


an education family.jpg

She wants to go to Oxford, too, but is perplexed and resistant to the purposeless of her life so far.  Is the only point of cello just to impress the Oxford interviewer?  She wants to live, read books and listen to jazz, go to Paris and Rome, eat good food in restaurants.  That's a quote. 

It helps that a) she is extremely pretty with not one single hint of threatening sexuality-- so that women in the audience can identify with her; and b) super-intelligent and witty, so that the same women can assume that because of a), they are also b.)  It also give the male audience a comfort zone-- since she's not sexy, there's nothing creepy about me liking her.  The absence of sexiness is vital to the misunderstanding of the movie, and to its appeal.  We'll come back to this.

This is a movie about teenage rebellion, in the past.   Whenever teen rebellion is depicted in present day, it's teen becoming worse.  When teen rebellion is depicted in the past, it's teen trying to be better.  NB: movies are made by adults who have kids. 

So our mythic hero receives The Call to Adventure.  I'm going to try to describe it in the most neutral language possible, so as not to influence you, but I'm going to fail.  Sorry in advance.

As she's standing in the rain one day, a man, about 35, in a purple sportscar drives up and offers her a ride home.


david in car.jpg 
At first it's platonic, but gradually they fall for each other.   He is sophisticated, worldly, eventually takes her to Paris, loves the Pre-Raphaelites, likes both jazz and classical, is the perfect gentleman.  He has two equally worldly friends, a couple, and the three of them  introduce her into a world full of life.  The one she longs for.

But at the midpoint the plot twist comes: he's a thief.  And a slum lord.  And married.  And now we get to see that she's been tricked into throwing her future away for something that isn't real.

The question for you reading this right now is whether this is a "plot twist," or is this "duh"?  The movie makes his duplicity be the reason the relationship fails.  But the relationship was doomed immediately, duplicitous or not, from the moment this psychopath pulled up in a sportscar and asked a 16 year old to get in.  Of course I understand why she'd fall for it, but that doesn't mean the audience is supposed to fall for it.  In my imagination, the audience is looking at each other like wtf?  seriously?  But if the internet is any guide, people reacted to this as if it was a puppy rescue on CNN.

"So what, if I see a 16 year old standing in the rain in my suburban neighborhood, I can't give her a ride home?"  It's very simple: if you're nervous about it, for her sake let her catch a death of cold.  Just because bin Laden was married to a 16 year old doesn't mean it's okay for you.

I've watched the movie twice to be sure I'm not insane, though admittedly this is not a valid test.  Yes, they slowly drop small hints that he's not who he seems, but I am certain that in the beginning, the viewer is not supposed to detect anything wrong with their relationship.  The only reason I assumed that the three of these sophisticates must also be cannibals is because I, me, can't believe that three adults who lure a 16 year old girl into their fold wouldn't obviously be cannibals.  My personal bias

an education cannibals.jpg
The point I am making here is that this is decidedly not the bias of the filmmakers, and that is very, very, very creepy.  And lazy.  Didn't they see Twilight before they shot a remake of it?


II.
 
If David's arrival on screen is creepy, the father's presence is nothing short of preposterously offensive.

The movie wants you to see that he only cares about appearances, not her soul.  He is the worst, utterly the worst, thing a Hollywood director can imagine: he is bourgeois.  Here's a media protip: the words "bourgeois" and "American" are always completely interchangeable.

In being this, he is blind to his daughter's true nature and an accessory to child rape.  He grills and insults some poor teen who asks her out, but because David is a higher class person, he doesn't try to find out anything about him, doesn't ask if he's on a list, lets him take Jenny out late and on overnight trips.  He practically shaves her vagina for him.  The father never even asks David's last name.  In fact, his only reservation about David is that he is... wait for it... Jewish.  Oh, no matter, David charms the anti-semitism right out of him.  Yes, it was that easy.

Naturally, when it is discovered that David is married, her dad gets angry.  He wants a confrontation, so he mans up: "right, if you won't do it, I will.  I'm still your father." 

"Oh, you're my father again, are you?" she says in the only line that makes sense in the whole movie.  "What were you when you were encouraging me to throw my life away?  Silly schoolgirls are always being seduced by glamorous older men, but what about you?"

That's your life lesson.  The unique problem of raising kids is that not only will they hate you  for not letting them do stuff, they will hate you for letting them do stuff they later regret.  Choose accordingly.


III.


I don't blame 16 year old Jenny for falling for the charismatic and sophisticated older man, of course I get it.  And, to a point, I am not even surprised that the parents fell for him either; they wanted "the best" for their daughter, and he looked like the best.  I can't do anything about misreading a stranger.

But what is their fault is that they misread Jenny.  They never listened to Jenny's words.  They may be good or bad people, but they failed as parents in this specific way.

Every time she explains why she loves David, or why she wants to marry him, or leave school, she says something like this:

"I want to read books, and listen to jazz, and go to Paris and Rome, and eat good food in restaurants."

None of those things are descriptions of David.  She may think she loves him, but to anyone who listens to her words it's clear she loves the world he offers.  That's not a reason to love anyone, in fact, it is proof you do not love him.  However much the parents want her to "marry well," they should have heard these words and realized that she didn't love him and that it inevitably wouldn't last.  That was their responsibility.  David, if he was any kind of man, should have noticed and let her go.   And any intelligent women seduced by the prospect of a man's new world should describe her happiness in three sentences and count how many times his name comes up, and then return the ring.


IV.

The movie pulls off a clever trick: even after you learn David is a cad and a liar, you don't really ever hate him.  And that's because you all Anglos have forgotten how to hate.  You think your lack of hate is a evidence of your own sophistication and maturity; just as Jenny doesn't hate him, she goes beyond him, you do, too.  But you're not being honest.

Imagine the exact same movie, everything the same, but filmed entirely from his perspective.  He sees a girl in the rain, and makes his move.  Now you easily hate him, now you see him as a bad person.  So why the change of heart? 

Similarly, if Jenny had been portrayed as superintelligent and witty but also as extremely hot-- that single change and no other, e.g. played by Megan Fox, you would have immediately detected the corruption at the center of the movie and stoned David and his purple car. 

So the reason you don't hate him in An Education is because you are deliberately not seeing reality objectively, you are choosing to see it entirely from her eyes, or have so identified with her that they are your eyes, which makes David merely a supporting character.  That inability to value people as individuals, good or bad, to appraise their worth independent of yourself, is a characteristic which is excusable in a 16 year old girl, and inexcusable in anyone else.


V.
 
It's evident to me that the filmmakers did not understand the true meaning of the tale they were telling, and I soon discovered why: they were telling a tale that had already been told by someone else.  Lynn Barber, a writer for the Observer, wrote the original story about her own experience as a 16 yo Oxford wannabe falling for an empty Tiffany's box.  The stories are very similar, except for their final lines.  This is how the movie ends:

So I went [to Oxford], and I probably looked as wide eyed, fresh and artless as any other student.  But I wasn't.   One of the boys I went out with-- and they really were just boys-- asked me to go to Paris with him.  And I told him I'd love to see Paris.  As if I'd never been.
You can imagine her winking at a knowing audience.

Here's how Barber's story ends:

What did I get from Simon? An education... My experience with Simon entirely cured my craving for sophistication. By the time I got to Oxford, I wanted nothing more than to meet kind, decent, straightforward boys my own age, no matter if they were gauche or virgins. I would marry one eventually and stay married all my life and for that, I suppose, I have Simon to thank.

Barber grew up.  Jenny didn't.  But the movie thinks she did.  The movie is called "An Education", but Jenny didn't get one.  She is like so many other women who have deceived themselves into thinking they are wise.  She's still in her movie, ready for a sequel, same as the original.  Jenny won't ever be happy; fortunately for her, she's not real.







Comments

Thank you for this... I tho... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 11:39 AM | Posted by Pete Michaud: | Reply

Thank you for this... I thought I was the only one watching this movie and thinking "Really? REALLY??"

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I wouldn't trust internet r... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 11:53 AM | Posted by Nick: | Reply

I wouldn't trust internet reviews here. Remember the characteristics of your average IMDB subscriber... unrepresentatitve, I hope!
OF COURSE it was supposed to be creepy from the start - otherwise there is no movie (or they would have made him 17 years old not 35).

The film-makers do their best to make it un-creepy in order for the "twist" to be a twist rather than obvious.
But take two seconds to think about it - it's OBVIOUS.

I mean the film is called AN EDUCATION for God's sake.
How is she going to learn unless she has a totally shocking experience at some point.

Frankly I reckon the guy was actually kerb crawling at the time and just happened to strike gold (maybe he was, I forget).

Oh and putting to "read English at Oxford" in inverted commas is unnecessary, that is the correct English.

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Her second coda was also re... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 12:04 PM | Posted by Max: | Reply

Her second coda was also revealing:

"But there were other lessons Simon taught me that I regret learning. I learned not to trust people; I learned not to believe what they say but to watch what they do; I learned to suspect that anyone and everyone is capable of "living a lie". I came to believe that other people - even when you think you know them well - are ultimately unknowable. Learning all this was a good basis for my subsequent career as an interviewer, but not, I think, for life. It made me too wary, too cautious, too ungiving. I was damaged by my education."

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"The unique problem of rais... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 12:08 PM | Posted by dimly: | Reply

"The unique problem of raising kids is that not only will they hate you for not letting them do stuff, they will hate you for letting them do stuff they later regret."

QFT

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Haven't seen this and am th... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 12:16 PM | Posted by JMiller: | Reply

Haven't seen this and am thus totally relying on the above description, but am wondering... how much does it count as teenage rebellion when it starts so (as described) passively? Compare to Diane in Trainspotting or Sandy in The Prime of Miss Jane Brodie and Jenny's PoV seems clear from the beginning that she wants to be seen as a victim reclaiming her life. The bonus odd part is this: if we know that it is retrospective and ends in self-deception, then how much of the rest of the film was pride overwriting her memory? (See also: scripts that Diablo Cody writes.)

Anyway, one counterpoint would be to the short line given to "valuing people as individuals independent of oneself" which doesn't make sense. People create value through interaction over time: whether it's worth the person making the judgment or with other people and merely being reflected on by the person making the judgment, there is no stark individuality or independence which holds enough value to warrant recognition. That said, a failure to recognize that people are supposed to grow and change as life goes on such that the older-guy is in a different place in his life than younger-girl is in hers such that the two of them can be together but in two rather different relationships where only their bodies meet is what's disconcerting. But when you've eliminated the young side of the relationship because they don't realize that there's a difference between 16 years and 100 years (Twilight) or 10,000 years (Evanescence) then you're left with the older side and a lack of introspection to chastise as being "predatory!" instead of just "a stupid douche." (See also: "vampires don't get older.")

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This movie sounds like a ve... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 12:20 PM | Posted by T. AKA Ricky Raw: | Reply

This movie sounds like a very superficial and oversimplified interpretation of the book. As a fan of the book I didn't watch it because it seemed to miss the point of the book, and your review not only confirms but surpasses my worst fears about it.

Thanks.

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One point you missed is tha... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 12:29 PM | Posted by Carol the Long Winded: | Reply

One point you missed is that the male star of the movie is dreamy. This is critical to making sense that she got in the car (if he'd been ugly she wouldn't have as a character in a movie, although the story says that he was ugly.) And for the rest of it to make sense. The women in the audience want to make believe that someone handsome would take their unsexy selves to Paris etc.

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Fantastic review aside from... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 1:21 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Fantastic review aside from the cringing it caused, not all of which can be blamed on an atrocious movie.

Please don't talk about shaving vaginas ever again. I'm sure you're a big boy and know what the proper terms are, or at least some fun improper ones for the right body part. If all else fails, I recommend the exquisitely mature term "hoo-ha" as one unlikely to invoke the imagery of razors crammed all up in there.

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Goddamn it Alone, why do I ... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 2:36 PM | Posted by Brian: | Reply

Goddamn it Alone, why do I always feel I'm being punished for reading your blog with brutally funny eye-opening axioms?

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Yes, please. Vaginas don't ... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 2:58 PM | Posted by a girl: | Reply

Yes, please. Vaginas don't have hair, they're just the internal part. Say vulva, say hoo-ha, say pubic hair, say anything, but PLEASE, GUYS, stop saying someone shaved their VAGINA.

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I kind of *was* Jenny and e... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 3:15 PM | Posted by Anomalee: | Reply

I kind of *was* Jenny and ended up leaving the movie before it ended. At the time I claimed boredom, but I think it had more to do with not wanting to rehash my issues and that I resented how the filmmakers were so manipulative and the characters so one-dimensional.

The world of ethics and morality is full of gray areas. I wonder if the adult Jenny looks back and thinks herself a victim. She got what she wanted when she was 16. And she recognized that what she was doing was "wrong" in some ways, and I'm sure that later she also realized that her 16 year old self needed to wrap the situation into something romantic and exciting so that she could buy into it and get "to live, read books and listen to jazz, go to Paris and Rome, eat good food in restaurants."

As for the David character, it would be much more likely that his character would be uglier. However the actor was so skilled that I could buy into the fact that he was so fundamentally flawed inside that he would be attracted to someone like Jenny. It's too bad he also had to be a thief and all-around jerk. It would have been much more realistic if he were just a guy who likes naive young women because of his rampant insecurities. And because of *that* was a jerk, instead of having all of these other nasty traits.

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Barber continues: ... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 3:59 PM | Posted by RC: | Reply

Barber continues:

"I learned not to trust people; I learned not to believe what they say but to watch what they do; I learned to suspect that anyone and everyone is capable of "living a lie". I came to believe that other people - even when you think you know them well - are ultimately unknowable."

Sounds like she learned how to spot a narcissist!

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First, Jenny and her... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 4:56 PM | Posted by Pastabagel: | Reply


First, Jenny and her Dad are exactly the same, right? She wants a more sophisticated life, and Dad wants her to have the Oxford grad life. They both want to move up in class. Upward mobility of the middle class is something we Americans inherited from the British. And in any case, the entire cast, the writer and director are all Brits, and this is a British production.

They fight because they both have some fantasy ideal they want for her, and in both cases the fantasy isn't real. Don't forget that this is the 1960's, that unique time when mass marketing reigned by a critiques of its hollowness had not yet emerged.

David is not attracted to her because she's hot or not. He's attracted to her because she sees him as he wants to be seen himself - sophisticated, worldly etc. He gets to play the part of the sophisticate he always wanted to be, but isn't, because that person cannot exist. This is the running theme of the film--chasing the fantasy. Each character is plagued by this fantasy life that no one ever achieves because it doesn't exist. The relationship doesn't fail for David's duplicity, it fails because society is duplicitous--the fantasies, both of the Oxford life and the cosmopolitan, never deliver what they promise. Specifically, the relationship failed once she wonders why a cosmopolitan man like David would be interested in boring-old-her.

"Imagine the exact same movie, everything the same, but filmed entirely from his perspective. He sees a girl in the rain, and makes his move. Now you easily hate him, now you see him as a bad person. So why the change of heart?"

It's called Lolita. But Jenny is nothing like Lolita, and David is nothing like Humbert Humbert. Humbert is very much into girls being little girls and destroying them. David is a much more pathetic but much less vile character.

"Similarly, if Jenny had been portrayed as superintelligent and witty but also as extremely hot-- that single change and no other, e.g. played by Megan Fox, you would have immediately detected the corruption at the center of the movie and stoned David and his purple car."

I wouldn't not have stoned David, because I would have assumed he was Professor X come to pick up this superintelligent, witty, extremely hot 16 yr old mutant girl. I would have stoned the producers from expecting me to take that film seriously.

None of the characters are "good" and none are particularly "evil". The tragedy is in their motivations, which they all share.

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FWIW - 16 is the age of con... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 5:14 PM | Posted by Barry Kelly: | Reply

FWIW - 16 is the age of consent in the UK, and the use of the phrase "child rape" is way, way overblown Amerocentrism. Up until about 1998, you could find topless 16-year olds on page 3 of the tabloids in the UK.

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Ugh thank God someone else ... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 6:33 PM | Posted by Nadia: | Reply

Ugh thank God someone else saw this movie and thought 'none of this is okay.' The ending annoyed me but I didn't understand why -- now I do. Yes, you sure are all growed up, what a smart little girl!

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But the relationship was... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 7:16 PM | Posted by r nebblesworth: | Reply

But the relationship was doomed immediately, duplicitous or not, from the moment this psychopath pulled up in a sportscar and asked a 16 year old to get in. Of course I understand why she'd fall for it, but that doesn't mean the audience is supposed to fall for it. In my imagination, the audience is looking at each other like wtf? seriously? But if the internet is any guide, people reacted to this as if it was a puppy rescue on CNN.

I had this same reaction to Ben Stiller in The Heartbreak Kid. I spent more time grimacing than laughing; his character in that movie is clearly a dangerous psychopath and in real life he'd probably have chopped Miranda up and stored the parts in his deep freeze. Danny McBride's character (that cracks him in the knees with a baseball bat) was the smartest in the movie.

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The only movie I ever saw t... (Below threshold)

June 8, 2011 10:49 PM | Posted by Walenty Lisek: | Reply

The only movie I ever saw that did the '30 year old man with teenage girl' thing in a non-creepy was was the South Korean film "Hello Schoolgirl". You can watch the whole thing on YouTube, first part is here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohObrGj1ubM

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I've seen that movie. It wa... (Below threshold)

June 9, 2011 12:29 AM | Posted, in reply to Walenty Lisek's comment, by someone: | Reply

I've seen that movie. It was pretty good from what I remember.

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One point you missed is ... (Below threshold)

June 9, 2011 4:15 AM | Posted by fraula: | Reply

One point you missed is that the male star of the movie is dreamy. This is critical to making sense that she got in the car (if he'd been ugly she wouldn't have as a character in a movie, although the story says that he was ugly.) And for the rest of it to make sense. The women in the audience want to make believe that someone handsome would take their unsexy selves to Paris etc.


Nah, it's not that important. Well, for this specific young lady, his appearance probably is, but expanding a one-dimensional cinematic character to all women is reeeeaally far-fetched.

I'm a woman, I've been honked at and offered "rides" since I was 12 (I was already taller than many adult women by then). I ignored all of them. Pointedly ignored. I'm so good at ignoring people who honk at me now, at age 35, that I don't notice when it's friends honking at me. (Which is kind of problematic. I've been trying to figure out how to check whether they're friends without making the hurf-durf honkers think they then have the right to follow me.)

I know a lot of women with similar experiences. I also know a few hopeless naïves in the blogging world who have made their lives into soap operatic romance novels (blogs, some turned to books) by letting random dudes "give them rides" and souping up the description as if they were these amazing catches... only to find themselves, a year or two later, broken up and still idealizing their naivety, then doing the same thing all over again and wondering why these perfect, beautiful men who instantly see their own unique beauty turn out to be fakes. Sigh.

It's nice to see that Barber learned from it.

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<a href="http://www.google.... (Below threshold)

June 9, 2011 8:51 AM | Posted by jill: | Reply

Great Read!

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My take on it was yeah, he ... (Below threshold)

June 9, 2011 11:34 AM | Posted by Dave: | Reply

My take on it was yeah, he was "too good to be true" - someone with his charm and riches would have been attached a long time ago. So I wasn't surprised when the bubble was burst. I saw him as a typical narcissistic womanizer.

But I also took the setting - in the 60's - as making it more plausible. I wasn't around then, but now such a thing would be seen as creepy, but I assume in those days the age gap was more acceptable?

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And why did they cast a 24 ... (Below threshold)

June 9, 2011 1:36 PM | Posted by wisegirl: | Reply

And why did they cast a 24 year old in the role of Jenny? Perhaps if they would have used an actual 16 year old, the audience would have seen it for what it was and hated David. The filmakers deliberately manipulated the story by casting an older actress.

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I haven't and won't see the... (Below threshold)

June 9, 2011 10:19 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I haven't and won't see the movie, but don't understand how you can fault the film makers for successfully making you experience the story from one character's point of view. That's what movies/stories are supposed to do. If you don't lose your objectivity, the movie/book/play has failed.

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As someone else mentioned (... (Below threshold)

June 9, 2011 11:39 PM | Posted by chesirehat: | Reply

As someone else mentioned (but it bears repeating) 16 is the age of consent in the UK.

The story also takes place 50 years ago, at a time when childhood did not continue into one's late teens. By 16, most people would be finished with school and on the workforce.

Furthermore, in those pre/early-female-lib days, the norm was to marry young, frequently to someone significantly older (who would presumably provide a living).

The power imbalance in such couples was not perceived as creepy by default, but more often than not "the way things should be".

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I think that we're all beco... (Below threshold)

June 10, 2011 12:34 AM | Posted by Francis: | Reply

I think that we're all becoming more like you; at least, I know I am. I relearned how to hate, thanks to you Alone! THANKS! Hahahaha(.)

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If he was ugly it would see... (Below threshold)

June 10, 2011 1:08 AM | Posted, in reply to Carol the Long Winded's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

If he was ugly it would seem like manipulation, fake. They made him handsome so everyone in the audience would be like "ok I can see a legit attraction on her part; this isn't a case of a slimy old dude praying on a girl who has a weak father, as happens so often in real life".

THe actress is herself beautiful so it makes no sense that women would fantasize that a handsome guy would take their ugly fat old selves to paris.

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IK,R?Speaking as a... (Below threshold)

June 10, 2011 1:11 AM | Posted, in reply to fraula's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

IK,R?

Speaking as a female I always get a bit scared when something like this happens. It's really not a good idea to get into a car with a dude, is it? Why do men think its a good idea to offer a woman a ride? Don't men realize it just frightens her and makes her want to think of a plan in case you are a crazy person? Whenever that happens I start planning "okay, I will turn down this street which will bring me to this avenue which has a lot of lights and a place I can run for help..."


What kind of dumb b*** gets in a car with a strange man who offers her a ride? OMG. I dont care if its brad pitt, nothing good can come from getting in a strangers car. A 16 year old should know better.

This should be a different movie, involving her ending up raped and murdered.

Are we really supposed to find this image of an old man peering at a highschool girl from his car window as somehow CHARMING?

WTF is wrong with our society. I look at that guys face and I find it terrifying, considering I have the knowledge that it is peering at (and lewdly fantasizing about), propositioning, a highschool girl.


I hate the world.

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A real 16 year old girl wou... (Below threshold)

June 10, 2011 1:14 AM | Posted, in reply to wisegirl's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

A real 16 year old girl would have looked gross. 16 yr olds mostly look like kids.

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False.Young men go... (Below threshold)

June 10, 2011 1:17 AM | Posted, in reply to chesirehat's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

False.

Young men got married early. A man who was unmarried at 35 was unheard of and would be considered a freak.

Go to an old folk's home, talk to them. They will regale you with stories of how they married an "older man" (he was 24 at the time, lol).

50 year olds boinking on 17 year olds is mostly what happens in non-western cultures, or in modern society where there are no fathers to protect their daughters. Fatherless daughters sometimes seek old ass dudes to fill the void.

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To add a small point, there... (Below threshold)

June 10, 2011 6:46 PM | Posted by rontom: | Reply

To add a small point, there is a hint that Jenny was not the first 16yr old he did this to, during Jenny's confronting his wife. There is nothing redeeming about David, even if she is able to consent. He was a deceiver and a rogue.

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Yes, leopards don't change ... (Below threshold)

June 11, 2011 4:18 AM | Posted, in reply to rontom's comment, by davey: | Reply

Yes, leopards don't change their spots, and it would be quite surprising if soemone began this kind of seductive, betraying activity in their mid 30's.

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What's the point of being m... (Below threshold)

June 11, 2011 3:32 PM | Posted by Anonymous Realist: | Reply

What's the point of being mature and sophisticated if not to get into sixteen-year-olds' pant(ie)s?

SRSLY Alone you're acting way more conventional than usual in this one--do you *really* think sex with 16yo's is rape?

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"And I told him I'd love to... (Below threshold)

June 12, 2011 12:24 AM | Posted by Sfon: | Reply

"And I told him I'd love to see Paris. As if I'd never been."
"You can imagine her winking at a knowing audience."

Kind of like him saying he wasn't married, wink at knowing audience?
She interacts with guys, but it isn't really her. She'll go to Paris, but it won't be her. She'll get married, but it won't be her, so why not still go out with guys?

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You find that with most mov... (Below threshold)

June 12, 2011 2:47 AM | Posted, in reply to wisegirl's comment, by eqv: | Reply

You find that with most movies/TV though:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DawsonCasting

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also I'd be intrigued to kn... (Below threshold)

June 12, 2011 2:50 AM | Posted by eqv: | Reply

also I'd be intrigued to know what TLP/everyone else thinks of the movie 'Hard Candy'...

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Hard Candy is a torture por... (Below threshold)

June 12, 2011 4:40 AM | Posted by Barry Kelly: | Reply

Hard Candy is a torture porn movie, where the ends (attempt to) justify the means in a post-hoc way. As a man watching, it's hard to have any more empathy with Ellen Page's character than Patrick Wilson's, and the final reveal ends up feeling like a cheap trick to justify the foregoing, which IMO will primarily appeal to misandrists.

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It had been awhile since th... (Below threshold)

June 12, 2011 5:56 AM | Posted by Comus: | Reply

It had been awhile since the last remake of the little red riding hood. Lolita did it better. What's the point of a hate-movie depleted of hate?

I vomited a bit in my mouth when the girl says "No, I've never been". You see, she's become him.

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For values of "awhile" incl... (Below threshold)

June 12, 2011 4:37 PM | Posted, in reply to Comus's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

For values of "awhile" including three months

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'As someone else mentioned ... (Below threshold)

June 13, 2011 5:07 PM | Posted by ErisGuy: | Reply

'As someone else mentioned (but it bears repeating) 16 is the age of consent in the UK. The story also takes place 50 years ago...'

What was the age of consent 50 years ago?

With considerably less sophistication, this a subplot in "Jesse Stone: Sea Change." There it is creepy.

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PRetty sure you are very se... (Below threshold)

June 14, 2011 1:27 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous Realist's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

PRetty sure you are very sexually unsuccessful. Pretty sure you watch a lot of porn as a replacement for real sex.

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What kind of dumb b*** g... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2011 7:19 AM | Posted by philtrum: | Reply

What kind of dumb b*** gets in a car with a strange man who offers her a ride? OMG. I dont care if its brad pitt, nothing good can come from getting in a strangers car. A 16 year old should know better.

This should be a different movie, involving her ending up raped and murdered.

Whoa, a little hostile there, aren't we?

It's set in 1961. People then did not have the same appreciation of the dangers of hitchhiking, etc.

I enjoyed the movie, and I think Alone et al. may be underestimating the intelligence of the movie, and the audience. The whole Jenny-David relationship made me queasy, and IMO that's the engine driving the movie; it's obvious David's not okay, but how not-okay is he, and how far will Jenny go with this relationship before she recognizes that? Not everyone is taken in; her teachers, especially Olivia Williams' character, are aware that the relationship is bad from the start. When she comes back from Paris she gives her teacher a bottle of Chanel No. 5, and you can tell the teacher is highly tempted by it, but she rejects it, because she doesn't want to be complicit.

At the end, Jenny visits the teacher's home and sees that her apartment is a bit bohemian, full of books and art. The woman she thought was a dull spinster actually has a rich private life; she has more of the sophistication Jenny was craving than Jenny ever knew. It's part of Jenny's maturation, which I think does happen to some extent, pace Alone.

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Whoops, the paragraph about... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2011 7:21 AM | Posted by philtrum: | Reply

Whoops, the paragraph about "raped and murdered" was a quotation and should have been italicized. Sorry.

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"A real 16 year old girl wo... (Below threshold)

June 18, 2011 7:45 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by someone: | Reply

"A real 16 year old girl would have looked gross. 16 yr olds mostly look like kids."

This is your brain on feminism. Up becomes down, black becomes white, and 16 year olds start looking like kids.

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I remember seeing this in t... (Below threshold)

June 19, 2011 3:28 PM | Posted by ginghamcloud: | Reply

I remember seeing this in theatres and listening to people talk about how shocking it was that David was married, like the relationship was creepy because it was adulterous and not because it was between a 16 year old and a 35 year old. I've been walking around for months convinced that this is yet another example of stupid audiences but I think you're right that it's the filmmakers' fault. I wonder if they thought we would accept this relationship because it was "ok in the past" though not necessarily in step with current mores.

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16 year olds mostly look li... (Below threshold)

June 20, 2011 1:40 AM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

16 year olds mostly look like kids. Some look mature, most look like kids.

Sorry if this interferes with your fantasy of having sex with someone who is as easy to manipulate as a child but who has the body of a smokin hot 18-24 year old bombshell.

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Any guy who says he prefers... (Below threshold)

June 20, 2011 1:46 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Any guy who says he prefers teenage girls is automatically flagging himself as a social defective, a loser, and an outcast.

The appeal of a teenager over someone in their late teens early 20s is the fantasy that he or she is easy to manipulate and control and wll not bother you with wishes wants or desires.

18-24 year old females are at peak reproductivity, and are physically the most attractive. Men pathologically fascinated with females

I've never met or heard of a guy who is a winner at life who says he prefers highschool girls. Men prefer young girls, sure, but... 15, 16? Nawps. That's all joo and your lonely faps.

Feminism has nothing to do with this. You being a loser does, though.

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Any guy who says h... (Below threshold)

July 16, 2011 12:33 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Any guy who says he prefers teenage girls is automatically flagging himself as a social defective, a loser, and an outcast.

Any gal who says 16 year olds look like children are just envious of a young ladies physique, and would do anything to have the metabolism they had way back when, except the ones that were obese, social outcasts.

/look at me, I can make up ad-hominem pseudo pop-psychology too!

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I was extremely pleased to ... (Below threshold)

July 26, 2011 6:40 AM | Posted by Oakley Limited Editions Sunglasses: | Reply

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Actually, before age 22, pr... (Below threshold)

August 10, 2011 3:16 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by nf4ever: | Reply

Actually, before age 22, pregnancies are considered "high risk". Women under 20, especially, are more likely to give birth to dyslexic, learning disabled, underweight, premature, and in other ways developmentally slow children.

If you don't believe me, ask an OB/GYN.The best time to have a kid is between age 22-32, in terms of lowest risk. (Don't forget that the age of the sperminator also counts...)

Yet another central tenet of evo psych down the drain. It all comes out in the wash.

This has been your daily PSA.

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WATCHING the movie for what... (Below threshold)

October 28, 2011 12:13 AM | Posted by Dennis Teel: | Reply

WATCHING the movie for what it was, not what reality might say it is.one poster said that during the movie she kept thinking "REALLY"?? this is why one accepts the movie as it was written not otherwise//the vast age differences didn't bother me 'nor offend me or my senses, as both characters actually seemed to be in love with one another,even up the point she found out he was married.I kept wishing they'd get back together but that she'd go to oxford as she'd intended earlier in the movie./i think that would have made a great ending/on the negative side,i feel like the movie encourages ageism to a huge degree,(ie,a general notion of age difference isn't appropriate)/i believe the film would've been happier if they'd gotten back together and the oxford thing had worked out also.and it still would've lived up to it's title "an education".

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script of this movie is exc... (Below threshold)

February 29, 2012 1:15 AM | Posted by freelance content writers: | Reply

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I am agree with the freelan... (Below threshold)

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I am agree with the freelan... (Below threshold)

April 24, 2012 6:19 AM | Posted by john: | Reply

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Within the scope of all the... (Below threshold)

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ready for a se(ro)quel... (Below threshold)

May 30, 2014 2:30 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

ready for a se(ro)quel

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