Terrible, and much worse than the generally favorable views led me to believe. I expected a bittersweet, if fairly tepid, tale of how a relationship between a young woman and an older man, despite its obvious attractions, was often not a good idea. Instead, I got this emotionally fraudulent, unidimensional morality play.
The story is set in 1961 for no apparent reason — perhaps to make a tedious political point about women’s limited opportunities in those bleak days before the women’s movement?
The story plods along predictably enough for the first hour. Then the plot falls off a plausibility cliff from which the movie never recovers. Did the writers go out for coffee and forget to come back?
Carey Mulligan is fairly convincing as a wise-beyond-her-years 16 year old, which is not that surprising considering that she’s a 25-year old actress who only looks 16. The movie is filled with actors who have done fine work elsewhere — Peter Sarsgard, Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson (!) — but here manage only uninteresting portrayals of unpleasant characters.
But here’s what really bothers me. This is a movie that purports to be a romantic tale. But not only is there no s*x, there’s no romance, not even any eroticism. The young woman talks about wanting to have “fun,” but she never evidences any. Nor does ner character learn anything about life from her encounter, except, perhaps, to dissemble with more skill.
Don’t waste your time, or your money.