It’s no secret that two smallish films about a young, highly intelligent curly-haired guy trying find his footing in life — The Education of Charlie Banks and Adventureland — are opening within a week of each other, and soon. March 27th and April 3rd respectively. And that both have the earnest, curly-haired Jesse Eisenberg in the lead role.
Jesse Eisenberg and Eva Amurri in The Education of Charlie Banks.
Kristen Stewart and Eisenberg in Adventureland.
And that both Eisenberg characters — — I’m sure they share many similarities but this one I’m dead certain of — experience erotic-emotional longings for a attractive classy-soulful 20something girl — Kristen Stewart in Adventureland and Eva Amurri (the daughter of Susan Sarandon) in Charlie Banks.
I missed Adventureland at Sundance (where it received a positive if unspectacular response) but I’ll be catching it tomorrow. It’s obviously the more broadly accessible audience film between the two, and the hand of director Greg Mottola (Superbad) tells you it’s not submental.
I haven’t seen Banks but it’s said to be a character-driven period piece, set on the Vassar campus in the early ’80s, about a bright dweeb (Eisenberg) having to deal again with an old high-school rival (Jason Ritter). The was directed by Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst.
I have a slight problem with the title of Durst’s film. The Education of Charlie Banks suggests that it’s about some kind of primal, life-changing lesson that shapes the character of young Mr. Banks. Not “an” education but “the” — big difference. Except daily life is a constant education. School is never out in this sense, and who’s to say which life lesson you absorb is the big one that really matters?
That’s why I love the title of Nick Hornsby and Lone Scherfig‘s An Education so much. It doesn’t imply that what Carey Mulligan‘s character learns over the course of it is a major game-changer; it simply says that she picks up a thing or two.