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Character: Helen
Directed by: Lone Scherfig
Written by: Lynn Harbor (memoir), Nick Hornby
Produced by: Finola Dwyer, Douglas Hansen, Nick Hornby, Wendy Japhet, Jamie Laurenson, Caroline Levy , Amanda Posey, James D. Stern, David M. Thompson
Other cast: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sargaard, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Cara Seymour, Emma Thompson
Release date: October 30, 2009 (U.K.) | January 16, 2010 (U.S.)
Genre: Drama
Running time: 100 min

In the early 1960’s, sixteen year old Jenny Mellor lives with her parents in the London suburb of Twickenham. On her father’s wishes, everything that Jenny does is in the sole pursuit of being accepted into Oxford, as he wants her to have a better life than he. Jenny is bright, pretty, hard working but also naturally gifted. The only problems her father may perceive in her life is her issue with learning Latin, and her dating a boy named Graham, who is nice but socially awkward. Jenny’s life changes after she meets David Goldman, a man over twice her age. David goes out of his way to show Jenny and her family that his interest in her is not improper and that he wants solely to expose her to cultural activities which she enjoys. Jenny quickly gets accustomed to the life to which David and his constant companions, Danny and Helen, have shown her, and Jenny and David’s relationship does move into becoming a romantic one. However, Jenny slowly learns more about David, and by association Danny and Helen, and specifically how they make their money. Jenny has to decide if what she learns about them and leading such a life is worth forgoing her plans of higher eduction at Oxford.

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Character Quotes

Helen: Someone told me that in about 50 years, no one will speak Latin, probably. Not even Latin people.

Reviews

“You may think you know where the film is going, but its ecstasy and heartbreak will stick with you afterward. It’s one of the year’s best.”
Christy Lemire , Associated Press

“The combination of a literate script, an adroit cast and an economical style is simple addition that achieves an alchemical feat: the best film of the year.”
Joe Williams, St Louis Post-Dispatch

Triva

• The creative team were initially worried about casting the 22 year old Carey Mulligan in the role of a 16 year old, but were convinced by her screen test. Rosamund Pike reportedly really wanted the small part of Helen, because “no one ever lets me be funny”.

• Rosamund Pike played Carey Mulligan’s older sister in 2005’s ‘Pride & Prejudice’.

Awards & Nominations

Nominated Academy Award 2010 – Best Motion Picture of the Year
Nominated BAFTA 2010 – Best Film
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