Directed by: Lone Scherfig
Countries & Regions: United Kingdom
Length: 100 mins
Region: Region 2
Released: 8 March 2010
Cat No: E1E51266
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Cast: Emma Thompson , Alfred Molina , Olivia Williams , Peter Sarsgaard , Sally Hawkins , Carey Mulligan , Rosamund Pike , Matthew Beard , Ellie Kendrick , Cara Seymour , Dominic Cooper , Amanda Fairbank-Hynes
Coming-of-age drama set in 1960s London, adapted for the screen by novelist Nick Hornby from the memoirs of journalist Lynn Barber. Jenny... Read More
Take Latin homework, soulless suburbia and awkward spotty schoolboys, or cocktails at jazz clubs, weekends in Paris and a suave older man who drives a cool car. In An Education, gifted schoolgirl Jenny Mellor (Carey Mulligan), who fears life is something happening beyond her sedate, suburban setting, is presented with exactly this choice.
Enter the debonair David Goldman (Peter Sarsgaard) in a mouthwatering red Bristol. A man over twice her age who oozes the sophistication and lust for life 16 year old Jenny dreams of.
Nick Hornby's adaptation of columnist Lynn Barber's memoir is a tale of seduction fuelled by the dreary realities for working class women at the start of the Swinging Sixties. With an age gap of some 20 years, this is not an easy story to navigate. However, Hornby's flair for painting engaging and believable characters, a talented cast and sensitive direction succeed in describing a convincing, if perverse, development.
Jenny's delightfully depicted parents are desperate to secure their daughter a shining future and the bright lights of central London seem exotic from the living room of their humble Twickenham abode. It is only too easy for David to break their polite resistance with his glamorous stories and extravagant gestures. As the startling open courtship begins, the script skilfully dances around the central and shady truth, in perfect tune with David’s own beguiling flippancy. With colourless careers advice – “It doesn’t have to be teaching, you know. There’s the civil service” – and insurmountable working class limitations, it’s no wonder Jenny drinks up the education David is keen to provide. What’s more, the perfectly cast Mulligan acknowledges a depth of complexity which sees Jenny as not merely a frivolous and naïve school girl, ripe for exploitation, but a strong-minded individual who is mature beyond her years. She can hold her own as she is wined and dined and there's not a whiff of doting adoration for Goldman.
An Education is undoubtedly an entertaining watch that will captivate you with its vivid sense of period. Sharp humour is woven appropriately though out and keeps the tone of the film bright, yet considered and substantial performances lend both gravity and insight.