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From acclaimed writer Nick Hornby (ABOUT A BOY, HIGH FIDELITY) comes this inspired coming-of-age film Rolling Stone magazine calls "a miracle of a movie." When Jenny (Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominee Carey Mulligan), a bright young school girl who longs for adulthood, meets David (Peter Sarsgaard), a dashing older man, he introduces her to his vibrant world of glamorous friends, chic jazz clubs and her own sexual awakening. Will she let this affair ruin her dreams of attending Oxford, as her headmistress (Emma Thompson) fears? This captivating film sparkles with the wit, charm and style of 1960s Britain.
A young girl seduced by an older man may be a common story, but An Education is no common movie. As Jenny, a precocious middle-class British schoolgirl charmed by a small-time criminal, newcomer Carey Mulligan is luminous; her face can be plain and beautiful at the same time, her eyes expressing a restless intelligence and a hungry soul. As David, the seducer, Peter Sarsgaard (Year of the Dog, Garden State) gives yet another rich, thoughtful performance. The script, adapted by Nick Hornby (whose novels High Fidelity and About a Boy have been made into movies), is full of unexpected details that bring every moment to life. Director Lone Scherfig (Italian for Beginners) has made sure that every character is vivid and real; even seemingly minor moments have texture and vitality. The supporting cast--including Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson, Cara Seymour (Adaptation), Dominic Cooper (The History Boys), and Olivia Williams (Rushmore)--is simply impeccable. In a small but memorable part, Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day) shows an unexpected (and marvelous) comic side. In short, An Education is a funny, smart, and compassionate movie that will launch a great career for Mulligan and be a jewel on the filmographies of everyone involved. See this movie. --Bret Fetzer
Stills from An Education (Click for larger image)
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The leading man was spot on as the manipulative, deplorable cad who comes off as lost, woebegone, and just in need of the love of the right woman, unaware of the devastation he wreaks, everywhere he goes.
It is a coming of age cautionary tale, but not the least heavy handed about it. The end was a surprise, but a good one, a very good one! I recommend this, highly.
I had no idea where the plot was going until the very end, where it hits you like a ton of bricks.
This movie holds no punches back, and it's a solemn, somber, interesting take on childhood optimism and the realities of a world turned upside down when the main actress realizes that life isn't a fairytale.
The acting is superb, and I was interested the entire way through.
Top international reviews
The cast is quite stellar and all turn in very solid performances. Carey Mulligan is quite amazing and captures the naive young Jenny to perfection through the various stages of her development. Peter Sarsgaard is equally excellent as the young man David who is seducing her. Alfred Molina is great as always as Jenny's ambitious and controlling father. And I must say that I did particularly enjoy Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike as David's flashy friends. Many more well known faces of British acting appear in small supporting roles, among them Sally Hawkins, James Norton and the always wonderful Emma Thompson's as Jenny's headmistress.
The film is visually beautiful. As long as you don't make the mistake to expect a romantic comedy or a fluffy feelgood story, or even an inspirational tale, there is an awful lot to like about it. Highly recommended.
The DVD is great. Subtitles for the hard of hearing are available, as is an audio description track for visually impaired audiences. The following extra features are also included:
- Commentary with director Lone Scherfig, Peter Sarsgaard and Carey Mulligan
- Deleted Scenes
- Making of / behind the scenes featurette (8 mins approx.)
Apart from the plot, which is mostly predictable, there are some points which show a certain objectionable attitude. The fact that the stealing of the painting (old map engraving) from an old lady is almost condoned in the film, to me is objectionable. Similarly the fact that everybody smokes all the time, I find it to be in bad taste. Finally as a point of accuracy, when you apply to the University of Oxford, you have to apply to a particular college and it is that College that will inform you about your final acceptance and on all other matters, not the University itself. In the film the girl gets a letter from Oxford University and not from her College as the case would be in real life, showing obvious ignorance from the director's part on the subject.
I watched it once and wasn't sure what I thought, and then proceeded to buy it. I can't describe what's so likable about it, I find it very comforting.
Ambiguous ending, but I think I like it.