Observent Teen Gets 'An Education'

Every parent knows that when kids reach the teen years, time with them becomes more valuable and so do the lessons we can impart. Hopefully, we take full advantage of these precious moments to do this any way we can. Last week-end was no exception for me. Before I was finished slurping the foam off my Eggnog Latte, my scheming teen had already perused the newspaper and found a movie and a piece of interesting 'fashion' information she immediately shared with me.

“Mom, it's going to be Mother-Daughter day today, OK?” announced my 14 year-old securing our 'date' so I wouldn't come up with an excuse to take off with my husband or a girlfriend–though it's usually the other way around. I really enjoy our days together because my 'fashionista' manages to teach ME something new at every outing. From the 'cool' movies to fashion trends, she's on top of it and, though I hate to admit this, has saved me from myself and my choice of apparel purchases more than a couple of times (What do you mean I can't wear shorts and Uggs? It's practically our beach town's uniform!).

“What a relief!” she confidently muttered to herself as she read about a French member of Parliament wanting to put warning labels on retouched fashion magazine photos. Valerie Boyer is a mother of two teenage daughters and is aware of the body image problems our 'normal-looking' girls face in today's body-conscious society. Apparently, she wants magazines to let readers to know, especially young teenage girls, that the images on the photo spreads they see are not 'true' to life. Needless to say, the relief was actually mine. For a change, someone other than myself was telling my daughter she is not fat and that magazine photos are not reality.

After talking this over for a bit, she told me the title of the movie we were going to go watch, An Education. I asked if she new what this film was about and she simply answered, “It's filmed in London and Paris, and the outfits look beautiful”.

OK, sounds good. I can sit through that.

An hour and forty five minutes later, we very contentedly walked out of the cinema and I congratulated her on an excellent film choice. I also told her I really appreciated the movie's message and how tastefully and realistically it was delivered. In fact, I thought this movie should be required viewing for teen girls. Period.

A small-town teenage girl with hopes of making it to Oxford University is suddenly swept off her feet by an older dotting man who takes her on lavish trips, expensive dinners and clubs. She drops out of school when the man gives her an engagement ring, and her goals of an education are suddenly replaced by dreams of a home, family and a lifestyle she'd never thought she could have–only to find out the man in question is married. In one fell swoop, her fantasy life vanishes and she's left with nothing. In typical teen-rebel behavior, she had gone against the advise of the adults around her, and found herself looking to get back on track encountering closed doors at every step, except for one teacher who helped her regain control of her studies. She finishes school and gets accepted to Oxford. Happy ending.

So, “What did you like best about the movie”, I curiously asked my observant teen expecting her to tell me about the point of the film and maybe reminisce a little about having visited all the cities the movie was filmed in this past summer.

“Oh, everything! The clothes, the furniture, the time period. Everything except the message.”

“Why?” I asked a bit surprised. 

“I wasn't paying that much attention to it. I was too distracted by the whole 'feeling' of the movie. I wonder if that was how they behaved back in the old days.”

I went over the mess the protagonist had gotten herself into, explained it to her, and then got confirming feedback from my attentive young listener.

“Oh, yeah. She was stupid for doing that. I'll never do that.”

I hope so, I thought.

We walked into the coffee shop at the corner, bought some hot chocolate, and quite out of the blue she then asked, “Were you alive in the movie's time period?”

After taking a quick mental survey of the movie's era, I realized the 'old days' now included me. In spite of this, I proudly replied, “Of course I was. This movie was set in the 60's. It's not THAT long ago.”


  1. Anonymous says:

    Sounds good – I'll have to watch this one! Another great french film about the drastic affect love can have is “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not.” Reminds you that things are definitely not always as they seem.

  2. Anonymous says:

    This is a really thoughtful post. Bianca seems pretty ambitious and capable, and I suspect it won't be too long before she can see past the decoration and into the core of a movie like this. Feed us more like this!
    I hope all is well, and that Alex has the SAT behind him for good (at long last).

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi Chelsea, Thanks for the movie tip!

  4. Anonymous says:

    I shall try to give you more food for thought my dear reader. And, yes the SAT is but a memory! Take care and keep in touch:)

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