High Marks for An Education
An Education chronicles the innocent time before the ‘60s swung into an era of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, as 16-year-old parochial schoolgirl Jenny (brilliantly portrayed by Carey Mulligan) sits in her parents’ suburban London flat diligently studying to attend Oxford. Stifled by the monotony of her adolescent life and standing with her cello in the middle of a rainstorm, Jenny is approached by David (the always pitch-perfect Peter Sarsgaard), a charming thirtysomething living in the world Jenny dreams of—the seemingly sophisticated realm of smoking bars, late-night dinners, and black-tie galas give the Francophile teenager the option to trade her boring life for a Paris-bound one. Though Jenny’s parents (played by Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour) initially seem content with their daughter frolicking about the city with a man twice her age, surprises abound, and growing up has never been so poignant. Far from the typical and treacly coming-of-age tale, the film boasts a script by Nick Hornby that steers it away from preachy lessons learned about rebellion. Mulligan’s Oscar-worthy performance makes An Education one not to miss this weekend. Read Rachel Syme’s interview with Mulligan on The Daily Beast.
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Pooh's Sweet-as-Honey Sequel
In the 80 years since A.A. Milne first stopped by the Hundred Acre Wood, generations of readers have been placed under the spell of Winnie-the-Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, Piglet, Kanga, and Roo. Created in the tradition of the series’ original author and illustrator, the first authorized sequel to the Pooh series, Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, hit bookstores Monday ready to capture the imaginations of an entirely new set. Written by David Benedictus and illustrated by Mark Burgess, the volume of 10 stories revisits the original vision of Pooh’s forest adventures, before Disney intensified the beloved character’s color and slipped him into a belly-baring red T-shirt. Armed with the full blessing of Pooh Properties Trust, Benedictus maintains the spirit and tone of the original four books of the series—Tigger still bounces, Piglet stutters, and Eeyore is as mopey as ever—but introduces a new character, the prim and proper otter, Lottie, who never goes anywhere without pearls draped around her neck. Time, it seems, has stood still in the Hundred Acre Wood. The stories begin with the woodland creatures anticipating the return of Christopher Robin from boarding school, where he retreated to at the end of Milne’s last book, The House at Pooh Corner. “Promise you won’t forget about me, ever,” the boy urges the silly old bear. “Not even when I'm a hundred.” With the arrival of this instant classic, Christopher Robin doesn’t have to worry.
Vermeer's Naughty Milkmaid
To commemorate the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic voyage to Manhattan from Amsterdam, the Dutch city sent the Metropolitan Museum of Art The Milkmaid, arguably artist Johannes Vermeer’s most admired painting besides Girl With a Pearl Earring. The museum’s exhibition ,Vermeer’s Masterpiece: The Milkmaid, marks the first time the painting, which can usually be seen at the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, has landed on American shores since World War II. The luminous and intimate painting is considered one of the last works of Vermeer’s formative years as a painter. The maid depicted was meant to conjure up romantic feelings from male admirers, and as even the Met now suggests, the artist may have intended for her pitcher to serve as an erotic allusion for the female body, insinuating milkmaids’ licentious reputation. The exhibition, which includes 36 of the famed painter’s works, remains on display through November 29. Read The Daily Beast’s Alexandra Peers’ close examination of the Freudian debate surrounding Vermeer’s milkmaid.