In the early 1960's, sixteen year old Jenny Mellor lives with her parents in the London suburb of Twickenham. On her father's wishes, everything that Jenny does is in the sole pursuit of being accepted into Oxford, as he wants her to have a better life than he. Jenny is bright, pretty, hard working but also naturally gifted. The only problems her father may perceive in her life is her issue with learning Latin, and her dating a boy named Graham, who is nice but socially awkward. Jenny's life changes after she meets David Goldman, a man over twice her age. David goes out of his way to show Jenny and her family that his interest in her is not improper and that he wants solely to expose her to cultural activities which she enjoys. Jenny quickly gets accustomed to the life to which David and his constant companions, Danny and Helen, have shown her, and Jenny and David's relationship does move into becoming a romantic one. However, Jenny slowly learns more about David, and by association ... Written by
This beautifully observed film is anchored by a series of performances acted with perfect pitch by its stars and supporting cast, led by the remarkable Carey Mulligan, and a truly extraordinary script by Nick Hornby. The coming of age plot is, perhaps, a little formulaic but that really takes second place to a series of wonderfully engaging characters who surround Ms. Mulligan's 16/17 year-old Jenny as she falls a little to hard for the appealing (and older) rogue played by Peter Sarsgaard.
One annoying little piece of trivium. The University of Oxford does not now and did not in 1962 admit undergraduates. Undergraduates are admitted by individual colleges at the university. So the letter that Jenny receives in which we learn whether she was accepted for a place would have come from a college and not the university as a whole.
And one amusing detail: Rosamund Pike who plays Dominic Cooper's decidedly non-academic blonde girlfriend actually attended Wadham College, Oxford! Takes an Oxford alum to play a dumb blonde, I suppose.
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