Tag Archive: olivia williams

It’s a new year and a good time for wishful thinking. Ballots have been mailed to Academy Award voters and must be returned by January 14, so to all my Oscar-voting readers — let’s for the moment assume I have any — here are some eligible contenders you haven’t been hearing about but deserve your attention.

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ghost writer

Dir. Roman Polanski
(2010, PG-13, 128 min)
★ ★ ★ ★

I have seen enough movies that twist fatigue sets in quickly. In some thrillers you can feel them pulling you through the maze, guiding you from plot point to plot point, and in the wrong hands you find yourself bored by the contortions of the screenplay. Instead of engrossed by a story you’re anticipating the beats. “Are we there yet?” you ask the driver. “Wait,” he says, “I’ve got something great to show you.” You roll your eyes and hunch down in the back seat. “Wake me when we get there.”

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Carey Mulligan, in 'An Education'

Dir. Lone Scherfig
(2009, PG-13, 95 min)
★ ★ ★ ½

I want to be Jenny when I grow up. Set in 1960s England, An Education is built on the character, who is only sixteen, and on the performance of her portrayer, Carey Mulligan, who is twenty-four. As written by Nick Hornby (based on Lynn Barber’s memoir), directed by Lone Scherfig, and acted by Mulligan, Jenny is a singular creation: confident but shy, worldly but naive, cosmopolitan but sheltered, yet she is never a contradiction in terms. She is a blossoming young woman, smart, who recognizes the perils of stepping into an unfamiliar world of adults, considers them, and undertakes them anyway, because she must do something that matters, instead of be churned through school and university and deposited into marriage or one of the limited career options available to women in that day and age.

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