It’s always fascinating to witness the birth of a new star. This coming-of-age tale, based on a memoir by British journalist Lynn Barber, is well acted, ably screen-written by Nick Hornby, and deftly directed by Lone Scherfig. Worthy credentials. But what makes it click is actress Carey Mulligan, and comparisons being made to Audrey Hepburn are not entirely out of place. I’m in love. It’s the story of the seduction of a 16-year-old schoolgirl by a charming, 30-something man (a spot-on Peter Sarsgaard). The seduction is not unrecognized as such, nor entirely unwelcome. Women had few opportunities in pre-lib 1961 Britain, and Jenny, a precocious lass fairly bristling with intelligence, is being prepped by her amusingly middle-class father (Alfred Molina) for Oxford, mainly in order to snag a husband. David charms the socks off her naïve parents and introduces Jenny to the world of concerts, art auctions, late-night suppers, and even Paris. If this is a seduction, then it seems she’s getting as good as she gives. Mulligan makes Jenny by turns strong, fragile, wise and naïve, and 100 percent credible. Also Emma Thompson, Olivia Williams and a very funny Rosamund Pike. Japanese title: 17-sai no Shouzou. (95 min)
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