It’s the unswinging end of London at the unswinging end of the 1960s as school girl, Jenny, does her A-levels and hopes for a place at Oxford to read English. One day while she’s waiting at the bus stop in the rain, a man, David, offers to take her cello for her in his car, but since this is the 60s, then it’s perfectly all right for older men to do that without it being assumed they’re perverts or curb crawlers. They start a relationship which allows Jenny to experience life a little outside of her repressive home environment. There’s something a little dodgy about David’s business, but Jenny doesn’t seem to mind or care that much. Eventually she gets to go to Paris, have sex, and get engaged. But having left school as a consequence of this turn of events, Jenny discovers that David is both married and a serial philanderer. Her life is ruined, but somehow, with the help of Miss Repressed-Lesbian (or Miss Frustrated-Spinster, her English teacher; it was hard to catch her exact name), she makes it to Oxford after all.
My feeling was that although Alfred Molina puts in a good turn as Jenny’s authoritarian father, Jenny herself seems to have been 26 going on 27 rather than 16 going on 17. I found her character just a little unrealistic because she sounded like children in American films who are always spitting out snappy one-liners and making fools of the adults. All right, she wasn’t firing off the one-liners, but I’m sure the way the character was portrayed was as no school girl ever was then or now, no matter what inflated ideas they might have of themselves.
Worth seeing? Yes. Classic of the genre? No, not really.
Since the story is based on a memoir by Lynn Barber, I can only assume that the film was punctuated correctly.
Secret Diary of a Call Girl.
Since I was on a bit of a roll yesterday, I decided to watch Secret Diary of a Call Girl based on the blog (blocked, natch) of Belle du Jour (aka Brooke Magnanti; probably also blocked). I picked up the book in Page One in Hong Kong once, glanced at it, and didn’t feel remotely inclined to buy it. Unfortunately, because the blog was blocked, I can’t compare that to the programme, although knowing the truth behind the tale (cash-starved scientist finishing off her PhD in need of a grant), I knew that parts of the series really were fictional.
Overall, I must admit that I wasn’t really gripped by Secret Diary of a Call Girl. I’m not sure how much of the relationship between Hannah, her boyfriend and her best friend was for real, or was added to give the programme a little drama; or, indeed, how much of it was spiced up. I’ll give it a shrug. Not sure whether it’s worth two shrugs.