Interesting to see this marketed as a Nick Hornby film as it’s not one of his novels, rather it’s based on the memoir of another writer, Lynn Barber, the renowned, hard-hitting journalist. Great that the Nick Hornby name is big enough in the film industry to attract the big hitters although I’m sure the casting of Emma Thompson also helped.
I read Lynn Barber’s piece about this before I saw the film so I already know of the changes; from 1960 to 61 to make it more swinging, the leading man’s name to David (sadly the name of Lynn Barber’s late husband) and that the second lead was earmarked for Orlando Bloom, who backed out without much explanation it seems at the last minute, fortunately after the financial backing was already in place.
His part was played brilliantly by Dominic Cooper, who I last saw on the irritatingly, saccharine filled but ultimately funny ‘Mama Mia’.
Based on, but not the entire true memoirs of Lynn Barber as a 16 year old preparing for Oxford with the ‘support’ of her persuasive parents when she meets a much older, self-made, wealthy con-man – as it turns out. For me the story would have ended right there if I hadn’t read Lynn Barber’s article as I cannot understand why a 20/30 something ‘has it all’ kind of bloke would want with a 16 year old school girl – with the exception of the obvious.
But knowing about the author herself not understanding why her parents let her be taken to west end clubs, weekends away and a trip to Paris gave it a little more reality. The relationship certainly wasn’t about the sex, perhaps more the curiosity on both parts.
It turns out to be a well-made fairly endearing tale of innocence and awakening. Indeed, an education. 7/10 Smile factor 7½/10