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An Education

The Worst Father in the World, here played by Alfred Molina, prefers wedding off his smart and ambitious underaged daughter (Sally Sparrow, 24 going on 16) to a 30-something con artist of means (a smirking Skarsgard), rather than financing her studying English at Oxford. It is the 1960s—why waste money on tuition if her only reason for attending university is to find a good husband?

She likes his opera-champaign-trips-to-Paris lifestyle, he likes that she speaks French and looks at him like a God, so it looks like a win-win-win as she abandons high school for an engagement ring. But if you hang around scammers you will get scammed, and soon she learns he has a wife, a son, and countless past jeunes femmes like her, some of whom ended up with child. A deus ex machina in the form of an English teacher does help her get into Oxford, and she lives long and well enough to be able to write the memoire that Nick Hornby turned into this screenplay.

Not a masterpiece, but serviceable as educational material for preteens. I hope Dora will grow up not to be as impressionable to sleazeballs.

Directed by Lone Scherfig, 2009

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