It goes pretty much by the book so it doesn't end up as an epochal coming of age flick but there are couple of moments that are moving as a parent's love for their only child or innocent as a young girl's debonairness. Young Carey Mulligan makes a great deal to be invested in story's progression and foreshadows one of the greatest talents of her generation.
What lacks here is authenticity. Imagine, you are a mother or father. And youv'e got a teenie-daughter. And she all of a sudden is dating a man twice of her age! A guy who is an obscure, non-transparent person. Would you let this happen, in London in 1961? No way and that's the problem here. Totally implausible. The rest is needless academic discussion.
Carey Mulligan, after some strong supporting parts, graduated to leading lady status with this incredible performance launching her career. Nick Hornby's script, based on the memoir by Lynn Barber, was aces full of solid characters full of flaws but also compassion. Strong supporting turns by Pike, Molina, Williams and especially co-lead Peter Sarsgaard. One can easily identify with the seduction offered.
1,7 / what a shame that the last 20-30 minutes completely ruined a quite good story! the end was a so fast-forward, unlikely cliche, and the young, potentially rebel girl, turned into a bitter "bourgeoise", with her lesson learned and a glorious future. It seems like the scenarist didn't know at all how to continue and conclude the script, and just googled it.
Charming, nicely shot cautionary tale with too many clichés, has too little to say about its characters, and falls on its ass in the third act. The totally misjudged, tacked-on narration at the end sums up its problems quite well. Mulligan, though, elevates the film hugely and more than deserved the accolades she got; her performance is hundreds of times better than the movie it's in, and makes it worth watching.