Monday, December 14, 2009

An Education - Movie Review

Based on Lynn Barber’s autobiography of the same name, An Education focuses on the life of Jenny (played convincingly by newcomer Carey Mulligan, who gives the role both depth and humor) – a very bright schoolgirl in 1960’s London whose promising future has a wrench thrown in it when she meets a charming, much older man (Peter Sarsgaard). David is and isn’t everything he seems to be. While he can certainly provide for her, his ways of doing so are dishonest and his friends are shallow. Much of the life he leads is a lie, but he is still able to whisk Jenny away to Paris or Oxford and lavish gifts upon her. 

The title of the movie seems to refer not just to Jenny’s school education, but her education in life and love as well. The wonderful thing about An Education is that it isn’t preachy, though it has a moral, and the icky nature of the May-December romance (which is putting it mildly - Jenny is only 16 when she meets David and he’s probably at least well into his 30’s) is downplayed by the fact that she’s extremely mature and clever, until it doesn’t feel so wrong.

Also notable in the cast are Alfred Molina as Jenny's pushy father and Olivia Williams (Rushmore, TV's Dollhouse) as her teacher, who is much chagrined to discover her most precocious student having an affair with an older man.

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