Friday, 5 February 2010

2009 in Review: Forgotten Characters

I know I promised I’d be posting the nominees for my 2009 awards this week, but circumstances have prevented me. I’ll get that to that as soon as possible; by the end of next week probably. However, in the meantime I’ll take a break from Season Two of my running Forgotten Characters’ feature to take a look at the Forgotten Characters of 2009.
                      
One simple way to become a forgotten character is to be an unknown actor in a nondescript role. It’s a sure-fire to become forgotten – even if your film goes on to become an Oscar nominee and whatnot. Last year we had a few forgotten characters (who I’ll hopefully cover over the next few weeks) and none of them epitomises that like this next entry:

Matthew Beard in An Education
As Graham
       
We first meet Graham as he and Jenny practise their violin, then subsequently he questions Jenny about the upcoming Sunday dinner at her house. Graham’s chronic nervousness is palpable. He’s the typical reticent schoolboy. His next scene for tea at the Mellor’s his most screen time as Graham suggests taking a year off to Jack who begins his tirade. Beard’s facial expressions are appropriate and a bit sad when we consider his situation. We may never have experienced it, but the situation of the self-conscious school boy facing the irate father is not a new one. I love Mulligan’s expression as he makes his response in that inaccurate French of his: “Mr. Mellor…I’m not a teddy boy. I’m an homme serieux. Jeune. An homme jeune serieux home.” We later see Graham as Jenny brushes him off, as her friend says she doesn’t have time for boys. His final appearance at that catastrophic birthday meeting is sad. I love his expression as he pulls out his uninventive (but useful) present – the Latin dictionary. His last appearance as he tries to catch Jenny’s eye amid the hubbub of David’s arrival is quite pathetic actually.
                    
Still, Graham’s appearance in An Education is not extraneous. Jenny is such an anomaly because despite her prodigious educational talent she is still a hopeless schoolgirl; the type of schoolgirl who passes over the Grahams in the world for the Davids. It doesn’t make her a villain, it just highlights her immaturity. An Education is wrought with short appearances from actors but at the end of it all as I see Jenny riding on her bike at Oxford I couldn’t help but wonder what had become of Graham…
                      
What are your thoughts on Beard's Graham? Is he justly forgotten? …Or a sympathetic oaf?

9 comments:

Jose said...

I thought he was adorable and that Jenny was sort of a wanker or whatever the Brits would call her, for choosing the old guy over him.
I sorta have problems with Peter Sarsgaard in that role, wouldn't it have been more plausible for her to fall for someone like Dominic Cooper with more charm and sexiness?

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

From reading snippets of the real Jenny's memoirs I think she was looking for someone really mature. I suppose had a Cooper-esque character been there she'd have jumped on the bandwagon, but it's like when Graham messes up the French - her wince is so perceptible. She wants maturity, and you don't get more mature than David. But maybe it's Sarsgaard that's the problem for you, people claim he gives them a creep vibe.

Nigel Maruva Chikukwa said...

Wait, Andrew do you have the link to these memoirs?

Walter L. Hollmann said...

I was a Graham when I was fifteen. I completely get him. Thanks for posting this!

Robert said...

Graham!!! He was great. I absolutely relate to him...he actually reminded me of myself. Haha! Great post...he would have gone forgotten otherwise.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

nigel not at the moment, i'll see if i can.

walter & robert nothing wrong with being like graham though. i figure i am a graham too, complete with inaccurate french.

Danny King said...

Ha, what a great pick. I feel bad for the kid, though. How could any high schooler compete with Peter Sarsgaard?

joe burns said...

I forgot about him too, until you made this post!

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

danny how indeed. sarsgaard is the ultimate charmer, graham did not stand a chance.

joe forgotten indeed, he was