Monday, 19 April 2010

An Education

I saw an excellent film this weekend. I rented it on a whim - James was going out with the guys and I had about 3.2 minutes to choose something. Now granted, it was a Best Picture nomination and I think the actress won the Best Actress category, so I knew I was starting with something at least critically acclaimed.

First of all, let me say how pleasant it was that the film was rated PG. I'm not one for movies where they swear like sailors or have sex scenes just shy of pornography, or violence that makes me close my eyes and miss most of the film. And, sad to say, most films that aren't animated these days run in one of these categories. What I found astonishing was that it would have been very easy for the screenwriter to make this an R rated film. The sex scenes could have been more graphic and the characters language could have been coloured more on the blue side. But it wasn't. And what that shows more than anything is how easy it would be to turn many R rated films into PG films. We don't need the exhibitionism. Granted, there are times when the story calls for something more graphic. But for the most part, it's gratuitous.

But what really struck me about the film was the theme, the moral at the heart of it. (Spoiler alert) Here is a film about a young girl who eschews her chance at a formal ivy-league university education to run wild with an older, more alluring and seemingly sophisticated man. In today's culture, this kind of behaviour is usually celebrated. Shake off the chains of oppression! Forget responsibility! Live a little (or a lot)! Run on the wild side! Live for yourself! We live in an instant gratification, self-centered society and our films reflect it perfectly. Except this one. "An Education" is more of a cautionary tale about the real possible consequence of living a self-indulgent lifestyle. Even though there are mature themes involved, I think this a must-see film for teen girls today. A wake-up call to reality, for sure.

All in all, it makes me happy to enjoy a film. I'm so rarely taken heart and soul by movies these days, and it is such a delight when it happens, even more so when it is unexpected.

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