An Education + Rushmore

Double feature: It’s back-to-school season…if you’re itchy to don a school blazer and sharpen some pencils but have no legitimate reason to do so, try watching “An Education” and “Rushmore” instead.

The protagonists of both films possess equal measures of intellectual ambition, precocious weltschmerz, and heart-melting naïveté.  In both movies, these traits generate humor as well as poignancy, and allow us to simultaneously envy and pity the characters harboring them.

Both films underscore the tension between parents’ desire for their children to reach their full potential, and their understanding that fulfillment of this desire would widen the (already present) gulf separating them.

Both films are thoughtful about the unofficial teachers that adolescents let into their lives, and both help limn the borders of impropriety in the teacher-student relationship.

And both films are quite stylish, with a retro kickiness and an attention to atmospheric detail that generally strikes the right balance between “stage-managed” and “charming.”

“Rushmore” earns extra credit for its top-notch, standard-setting soundtrack, and possibly the brattiest retort ever committed to film.

For a marathon“The History Boys” shares a lot of ground with both of these films, but goes about its business in a glibber (if brainier) fashion.

(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “robin_24” and “ebarrera” at Flickr)

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