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Wick's Review

Created Oct 29, 2009 08:31AM PST • Edited Sep 09, 2018 12:27AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Not your normal coming-of-age movie, this charming and engaging early-60s period piece seems likely to be remembered as Carey Mulligan’s coming-of-stardom vehicle. Carey who? That’s a question few will be asking after this splendid young star makes another movie or two.

    But wait, there’s more to this movie than just a sparkling new star. It presents a pre-Swinging London not often seen these days, elicits genuine laughs and plenty of smiles, is intriguingly romantic and a bit creepy at the same time, and features a great ensemble cast.

    As a grown-up date movie or for a girl’s night out, it’s a sure thing.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Carey Mulligan delivers a perfectly winsome performance as a preternaturally bright and self-aware teen. Emerging in upswept hair for her debut on the town, she’s the second coming of Audrey Hepburn.

    The rest of the accomplished cast sparkles around this bright new moviestar.

    • Peter Sarsgaard smoothly inhabits her good timing suitor. An American playing British, Sarsgaard deserves higher profile roles.
    • Dominic Cooper also impresses as his playboy buddy. Cooper made a favorable impression as the groom in Mamma Mia!. He makes an even more favorable one here.
    • Rosamund Pike dazzles as a stereotypical blond party girl, blithely spouting inanities and wrinkling her pretty nose at anything intellectually challenging. Ironically, Pike went to Oxford, yet her character memorably puts down Oxford coeds.
    • Alfred Molina, always superb, here enlivens the contradictory impulses of the promising girl’s obsessive father.
    • Olivia Williams makes an attractively deep teacher, while Emma Thompson makes a formidable headmistress.
  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Perfect 5.0
  6. Female Costars Perfect 5.0
  7. Male Costars Very Good 3.5
  8. Great 4.0

    The film beautifully depicts the staid London from just before the Beatles hit. A time of limited options for girls, deep seated prejudices, and parochial limitations, it also appears quaintly innocent to the modern eye. British writer and TV personality Lynn Barber – no longer an innocent herself – was an ingenue in the early 60s. Her autobiographical story of seduction and worldly revelation makes for a terrific film.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Great 4.0

    Barber paints her teenage self exceptionally wise and wonderful. True? Who knows, but she posits an entertainingly tall tale, especially as written for the screen by the redoubtable Nick Hornby, of High Fidelity and About a Boy fame. Hornby’s gotten a lot of praise for how well his script speaks in the voice of women and girls. With Barber’s estrogen soaked memoir as raw material, how could he go wrong?

  11. Music Great 4.0
  12. Visuals Really Great 4.5
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.7

    While discreetly handled, this PG-13 movie depicts an intimate relationship between a 17 year old girl and a thirtysomething man. Now grown, the woman who was the girl apparently wasn’t damaged by the affair, a refreshingly non-histrionic turn of events. Still, think twice before seeing it with your daughter.

  15. Sex Titillating 2.0
  16. Violence Gentle 1.4
  17. Rudeness Salty 1.7
  18. Glib 1.1

    Statutory rape can never be condoned, even when the youngster involved is sufficiently self-possessed to look back almost fondly on the experience, as the 65 year old Barber does. Not the sex, which she describes as minimal and meaningless. Rather, she reveled in the adult world her grown suitor introduced to her, sex being an inextricable part. This “education” could have derailed her life. Instead it seems to have set her on her path to success. Go figure.

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.4
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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