How It Works

I love movies, but I hate most movie reviews. I hate them for two reasons: First, they always begin with a 3-5 paragraph in-depth description of the film. I don't want to know the entire plot, I want to know if it's good! I may say generally what the movie involves but that's it. Second, most movie reviews are unclear. I've read countless reviews that left me with absolutely no indication as to whether or not I should even see the film. Not here. I developed three methods to rate television and movies:

1. Just your average 10 point scale.
10 is obviously the best and 1 is the worst. Although, Something Borrowed might make below a 1 if I ever get around to reviewing it. I consider myself quite harsh, so if you see anything above a 9, it's probably in my top ten of all time.

2. What's it Worth?
I will tell you if I think it's worth paying for and worth the 2 (and ever more increasingly 3) hours of your time. I also make an educated guess as to whether or not you can multitask during the film.

3. The (not-yet) Patented Clairometer
In honor of my college friend Claire, I developed this rating system in order to display how "appropriate" the film is. It is designed to tell you a more detailed rating system. I find this helpful. Sometimes you want to know ahead of time so you're not stuck watching Black Swan in an empty theater with your mom. The range between PG-13 and R is more vast than the plot holes in a Michael Bay movie. I hope to combat this. The scale shows photos and descriptions of a few well-known women in film and television. The rating is the farthest woman to the left of the scale who would approve of the film. For example, June Cleaver would not approve of
Tequila Sunrise. The woman who would is probably Mathilda.





With this blog, I write as though someone will read it and enjoy what I have to say. I am under no false pretense that I have a wide readership. It is mostly for me and for the one other person who accidentally stumbled across this blog. If that is you, I'm glad you are here. With this blog, I send my thoughts about what I watch on a black box into the abyss of the world wide web. I hope you enjoy reading these thoughts as much as I enjoy writing them.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

An Education

An Education (2009)
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard,  Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Alfred Molina, Olivia Williams, and Emma Thompson
Directed by: Lone Scherfig
Screenplay by: Nick Hornby, based on the memoir of Lynn Barber
My Rating: 9.4/10
Worth: Not only is it worth the 2 hours (100 minutes actually), were it still in theaters, it would be worth that cost.
Clairometer: Ethel Thayer

"If I go to university I'm going read what I want, and listen to what I want, and I'm going to look at paintings and watch French films. And I'm going to talk to people who know lots about lots."  
When selecting a movie to watch, I typically go by "my list" of actors in which I trust wholeheartedly. I trust their decisions on which scripts to take and I can therefore trust that those movies will be good. Carey Mulligan is at the top of my list. The easiest phrase to describe An Education is "a work of art." Beth Rowley, Juliette Greco, Mel Torme, Paul Englishby and early Duffy combine to make the film worth watching even with your eyes closed. While Helen's (played by Rosamund Pike) wardrobe makes the film worth watching even with your ears plugged. Everyone has biases and admittedly mine are French music, 1960s fashion and British films in general. Amidst completely discrediting myself, I stand firm in my belief that An Education is worth watching even if you don't share these biases. 

Jenny: "I'm still trying to work out what makes good things good. It's hard isn't it?"
Danny: "The thing is Jenny, you know... without necessarily being able to explain why. You have taste. That's not half the battle. It's the whole war." 

It is one of the most appropriately named films in existence. It attempts to define what an education is. Why should a woman in the early 60's go to school? Perhaps to become a teacher or find a husband. Who is responsible for a young girl's education? Her teachers? Her parents? An older man? The film teaches us that it is not enough to become educated. We must know why we are doing it. Our education must be a balance between books and life - otherwise we become spotty and garish. 

Jenny's relationship with her mother is underplayed but something to notice. Watch as she pushes Jenny towards excitement. She waits up for her to come home from adventures. She seems perfectly aware of everything going on in Jenny's life and while many mothers might persuade (or even force) her one way or another she remains supportive. She is supportive of anything Jenny decides as long as it leads her to a different life than she has.  

"The life I want... there is no short cut."   

This is not a film that leaves you uplifted and ready to take in a homeless boy turned football star. Nor is it a film that Meg Ryan would watch with a pint of ice cream. When it ended I wanted to read a book, wear black and smoke a cigarette. You must take a moment at the conclusion and contemplate your life. Why are you on the path you are? Is it for you or someone else? No matter how old, we are constantly being educated. But by whom or what?  Life is about experiences. How do we know which are good ones? According to Danny it is a matter of taste, and gaining taste is the whole war.