Movies I’ve seen recently…

An Education (2009)

I saw this smart indie movie over Thanksgiving break w/ my mom in Indy; we both liked it very much.  The writing is terrific, and the actors fit their roles perfectly.   Jenny (24 y.o. rising Brit Carey Mulligan) is a pretty, intelligent, and wise-beyond-her-years schoolgirl in early ’60s suburban London.  Her ambitious parents, esp. father Jack (Alfred Molina), are prepping her to attend Oxford the following year.  Jenny thinks she can make it to Oxford, but she also wants to know more about the world; she loves anything French, and dreams of going to Paris.

One rainy day, Jenny meets David (Peter Sarsgaard, the only American in this British cast), a charming man in his 30s.  Their relationship develops slowly, unlike many other movies with the younger woman-older man dynamic.  David has sophisticated/fun-loving friends (Rosamund Pike and Dominic Cooper), and introduces Jenny to a world of fine art, food, music, etc.  Jenny eventually falls in love with David, and it feels like her life has finally begun.  But David is not all that he seems…

 

Fighter (2007)

This is a Danish martial arts drama that is a combination of The Karate Kid and Bend it Like Beckham.  Aicha is an athletic, determined high school senior from a working-class Turkish Muslim family in North Copenhagen.  Her dad (who she’s very close to) wants her to be a doctor, like her older brother.  “I don’t want you to struggle like me,” he says in a regretful tone.

But Aicha is struggling in school, and she has a secret- she loves (and is very good at) kung-fu.  Against her father’s wishes, Aicha sneaks around to train at an exclusive martial arts club.   She quickly discovers that she’s better than most of the boys there.  A cute blonde boy she trains with, Emil, develops a crush on her.  Though Aicha is gaining skill/confidence/respect doing something she loves, she is also taking a huge risk in the eyes of her family/community.           

Trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njeLU_uvhM8

More about the film:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0995029/

  

The Shop Around the Corner (1940) 

This is a classic comedy (starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan) that is funny, quirky, and sweet.  Alfred Kralik (Stewart) is the top salesman at small shop in Budapest where Klara  Novak (Sullivan) desperately comes to look for a job.  The owner is convinced by her words, and agrees to take her on, but Mr. Kralik is not too happy.

Stewart is great (as always) as a young/hardworking guy with dreams of meeting the woman of his dreams and proposing to her on Christmas.   It turns out that his anonymous pen pal is Klara, a woman who annoys (and yet attracts) him with her personality.

This movie was remade twice- In the Good Old Summertime (in 1949 w/ Judy Garland and Van Johnson) and You’ve Got Mail (in 1998 w/ Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0033045/

 

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