- If people die the moment that they graduate, then surely it's the things we do beforehand that count.
- I don't want to lose my virginity to a piece of fruit.
- If you never do anything, you never become anyone.
- [about sex] It's funny though, isn't it? All that poetry and all those songs, about something that lasts no time at all.
- The life I want, there is no shortcut.
- Knowing a famous author is better than becoming one. It shows you're connected.
- Someone told me that in about 50 years, no one will speak Latin, probably. Not even Latin people.
- Headmistress: Nobody does anything worth doing without a degree.
- Jenny: Nobody does anything worth doing with a degree. No woman anyway.
- Headmistress: So what I do isn't worth doing? Or what Miss Stubbs does, or Mrs. Wilson, or any of us here? Because none of us would be here without a degree. You do realize that, don't you? And yes, of course studying is hard and boring...
- Jenny: Boring!
- Headmistress: I'm sorry?
- Jenny: Studying is hard and boring. Teaching is hard and boring. So, what you're telling me is to be bored, and then bored, and finally bored again, but this time for the rest of my life? This whole stupid country is bored! There's no life in it, or color, or fun! It's probably just as well the Russians are going to drop a nuclear bomb on us any day now. So my choice is to do something hard and boring, or to marry my... Jew, and go to Paris and Rome and listen to jazz, and read, and eat good food in nice restaurants, and have fun! It's not enough to educate us anymore, Ms. Walters. You've got to tell us why you're doing it.
- Miss Stubbs: You seem to be old and wise.
- Jenny: I feel old. But not very wise.
- Jenny: [Reading from envelopes she found in David's car] Mr. and Mrs. David Goldman. Mr. and Mrs. David Goldman. Mr. and Mrs. David— you're married!
- David: Legally yes, but...
- Jenny: When were you going to tell me?
- David: Soon. It just never seemed like the right time. You seemed so happy, and I was happy...
- Jenny: You were living with your wife all this time, around the corner! Byron Avenue. It's no wonder we kept bumping into each other, is it? What number?
- David: 34. Don't be like this, come on.
- Jenny: I have nothing. I didn't take my exams. I... I left school. Where's it all gone now?
- Jack: We have to have this out. Well, if you won't do it, I will. I'm still your father.
- Jenny: You're my father again now, are you? And what were you when you encouraged me to throw my life away? Silly schoolgirls are always getting seduced by glamorous older men, but what about you two?
- Headmistress: He's a Jew? You're aware, I take it, that the Jews killed our Lord?
- Jenny: And you're aware, I suppose, that our Lord was Jewish?
- Headmistress: I suppose he told you that. We're all very sorry about what happened during the war. But that's absolutely no excuse for that sort of malicious and untruthful propaganda.
- Carey Mulligan - Jenny Mellor
- Peter Sarsgaard - David Goldman
- Dominic Cooper - Danny
- Rosamund Pike - Helen
- Emma Thompson - Miss Walters
- Olivia Williams - Miss Stubbs
- Alfred Molina - Jack Mellor
- Cara Seymour - Marjorie Mellor
- Sally Hawkins - Sarah Goldman
- Matthew Beard - Graham
- Ellie Kendrick - Tina