Growing up too soon: Teens at the crossroads of temptation

BRENT NORTHUP Film Review An Education

Streaming on Amazon et al

Red Rocket

The Myrna Loy

Today, we shall reflect on older men, with dubious intentions, who romance/groom young girls. Can art capture that type of story without, itself, being guilty of exploitation? Can such a story illuminate the human condition? Or not? Lolita?

Let’s take a look at two films, and then come back to these questions.

Exhibit One: “Red Rocket,” a 2021 tale of Mikey, a 40-something former adult film star, who spots a cute 17-year-old high school girl at a donut shop. He sets out to steal her glaze. Headed to college, Strawberry figures she can fly close to the flame, wink and then fly away – but her wings are not that strong.

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Exhibit Two: “An Education,” a 2009 British film starring Carey Mulligan as yet another high school senior, headed to Oxford. A debonair “gentleman” sees her standing in the rain one cloudy day, and offers her a ride home, “to protect her cello.” A grooming begins that tempts her to trade her ring binder for a ring.

Two very different films, both swimming in the sea of

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