Production designer Andrew McAlpine masterfully constructs a somber setting of post-World War II London. A feeling of repression lingers in each scene which so eloquently demonstrate what the city was like before the huge artistic counterculture of the 1960s. The period itself plays into the characters a great deal, because it is the foundation for so much of who they are and how they approach the circumstances before them. There is a vast contrast of moods created by the littlest things like a rainstorm or a costume change. Scherfig keeps the visual angels on screen low and close to the actors throughout the entire film. For such a character driven piece, this is a brilliant tactic by the director because it creates an intimacy where empathy otherwise might not readily lend to the audience. But ultimately, it is the performances that truly bring this story and this film to the limelight.
|Carey Mulligan as Jenny|
|Matthew Beard as Graham, with Mulligan|
|Peter Sarsgaard as David|
|Mulligan with Dominic Cooper as Danny|
|Alfred Molina as Jack Mellor|
|Olivia Williams as Miss Stubbs, with Mulligan|
|Emma Thompson as the Headmistress, with Mulligan|
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Bottom Line: A remarkably distinguished coming of age story that truly embodies the angst and emotional trauma of life's many lessons.
"You've Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger" performed by Beth Rowley