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Ah, that was a mighty fine thriller indeed.  And this is a mighty quick write up.

It was nothing spectacular really, but in terms of a thriller, it was pretty much near perfect in presentation.  Essentially, a ghost writer takes on the job of writing the British ex-prime minister’s autobiography after the previous writer was found dead.  Much mystery ensues, including finding out how the previous writer died, and discovering the truth about who the prime minister really is.  Everything is plausible, which is hard to get in a thriller nowadays, but Polanski does it well.  The acting is good, especially with McGregor carrying the central lead as the ghost writer.  Not one to miss.

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Yes, I know, it’s been a while since I did a DVD review.

In fact, you’re getting three.

It was originally just going to be An Education, but then it wasn’t, until I got a last minute phone call for being able to view this movie. I already had two other movies in my hand. So, you’re getting three movies: two British films, one American, all indie.

All perfectly fine by me (the selection, though all of the movies were good to excellent as well).

Anyway, let’s start with An Education, one of the best movies of 2009.

I say best in terms of everything, starting with production: it’s perfect. It’s brilliant in that I found nothing wrong, and after the second viewing, the things I missed the first time around or thought I missed were perfectly laid out. The movie works. There’s no argument about that.

The movie tackles just about everything too in regards to the relevancy of the time period: 1960’s London. The opening credits lay the foundation: women, being the expectant homebody, are learning more about cooking, cleaning, and general life as a wife than other life or career skills. You were expected to be married, or be a teacher, or a nurse. The options were limited. You were typecast the moment you were born, unfortunately.

Jenny, played masterfully by Carry Mulligan (she was my pick to win best actress at the Oscars), wants to at least raise herself beyond that. She’s pushed hard by her father (Alfred Molina in an Oscar-caliber role) in school: do well, study hard, get to Oxford (it’s all coming out of his pocket anyway). She wants to go to Oxford too, mainly to read English, but to also to embrace the world.

Enter David, a charming, older gentleman (his age is never given, but it’s speculated that he’s in his thirties), who is well to do, but is also a deceptive individual and a con artist. He introduces her to his friends, Danny (a fellow con artist) and Helen. Jenny enters into a world she has only been able to dream of before: late nights, music, dancing, and traveling. She has fun, too much fun. Her friends are envious, but loving her stories. Her teachers, on the other hand, hate to see her throw her life away.

But slowly she does, finding her well built world crumble piece by piece under David’s charms. She falls in love. She turns 17 and gives her virginity to him. He proposes, and decides after a conversation with her parents (who has also fallen for David’s disarming charms), says yes. It becomes the end of her school career, and soon becomes the end of her, once she finds out David’s secret.

I feel I maybe saying too much, but I’m not. I wrote about this movie back in October, before it came out, when I read an article by Lynn Barber. Her memoir served as the basis for the film, an all true story of an education, both in school and in life, love, and the ultimate deception. Here’s the link to the article , and I highly recommend the read. It captures everything the film does so wonderfully.

I think it goes without saying that I recommend this film highly.  Intelligent, humorous, and enlightening.  Now how many films can boast that claim?