Oct 3, 2009

Give this woman an Oscar

I think I'm safe to write about An Education now. Nick showed it to me a couple of months ago, when he was last in New York, and I couldn't have loved it any more. All the stuff you're reading about Carey Mulligan is deserved: her performance is terrific. She does all her growing up in one go: its written on her face, with its Charlie-Brown like levels of forbearance, and fervent hope that people are going to turn out as well as they do in her imagination. That they don't is their loss. Nor is this one of those movies, like Wish You Were Here, which swings around one central performance, while everybody else flattens themselves against the scenery. There's not a dull patch in the movie, nor a dull character: the spread of Nick's sympathies is too wide. A whole world unfurls around her. I don't think I've seen a movie that captures so well that fierce thirst of being a teenager — for knowledge, people, sights, sounds, anything beyond the street where you happen to live. You have to go back to something like Gregory's Girl to find a British film this tender.

Oscar chances? I'd say nominations for Best Film, for Carey Muligan, for Nick's script and maybe the director, Lone Scherfig. The one with the biggest chance of winning is Mulligan L you'll probably not see a better performance from an actress this year. She is young, though — 24 — and will be up against Streep and maybe Bening. Nick stands a chance of winning for Best Adapted screenplay, too, where I think his main competition will be Tom Ford, not because his script for A Single Man is so great (I haven't seen it) but because it is about a gay man, Ford is a celebrity-turned-director a la Julian Schanbel, and has Harvey Weinstein in his corner. Whatever. Nick's script is for anyone who cares about good jokes and lines that cut to the heart and great storytelling and living, breathing characters who you think about for months afterwards.

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