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Carey Mulligan on the controversy of 'An Education'

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Now that An Education is finally hitting theaters this Friday, I’m curious to see if there’s going to be any kind of “ick factor” amongst audiences and Oscar voters (particularly older ones) over the film’s basic plot: a 16-year-old schoolgirl who falls for a man in his early 30s and decides to lose her virginity to him on her 17th birthday. The subject matter is handled with great sensitivity by director Lone Scherfig and screenwriter Nick Hornby, but that’s never stopped some people from getting all up in arms. It’s particularly interesting in light of Roman Polanski’s recent arrest—though it goes without saying that the cases, while both involving adult men and underage girls, are vastly different. In Part 2 of our OscarWatch interview (watch Part 1 here), Carey Mulligan and I discuss her impressive Education costars Emma Thompson and Sally Hawkins and the surprising reactions she’s gotten from fathers after they’ve seen the movie.

(On a side note: I conducted this interview last month in Toronto. After I got back, I saw Jack Rosenthal’s Sept. 25 “On Language” column in the New York Times Magazine, in which he discusses a handful of words that many people use incorrectly, one of which is enormity. Most people, including me, think it means “enormousness,” when in fact it means “great wickedness.” So now of course I feel like an idiot for showing my ignorance in this video. I’ll never make that mistake again!)

UPDATE: According to several commenters, enormity does also mean enormousness. So stuff it, New York Times!