[Review] An Education (2009)

An Education is really just that, it is an education, a life learning experience, coming of age for Jenny (Carey Mulligan). The film is set in the 1960’s in England, 16 year old Jenny is attending school and her parents (mostly her father played by Alfred Molina) have high hopes for her. On a rainy day she meets David (Peter Sarsgaard), a man almost 20 years older then her, which changes her life around completely.

An Education is quite a good film, I really enjoyed it and it was thanks to the fantastic performance from Carey Mulligan which I think made it as good as it is. She is an amazingly charismatic performer who embodied her character completely. Jenny is a girl who knows what she wants, and it seems she will do what she can to get there, until David comes along. Jenny is so mesmerised by him she does not even realise the manipulation he has over her and those around him.

The attraction between David and Jenny is instant, and it helps that Peter and Carey have a great chemistry. You kind of almost feel there isn’t anything wrong with these two getting caught up together but you do know deep down it isn’t right and something isn’t quite right about him. What actually annoyed me about this film is that Jenny’s father is so protective of her and has clear thoughts on what he wants her to do with her life. But when David comes into the picture it all changes and he suddenly lets her out and doesn’t care if she throws her future away. I just did not find that believable or credible at all, and I thought that did hurt the film a little bit.

The relationship Jenny has with her friends was one you would expect, typical young teenage girls. And the relationship that develops with her teacher Miss Stubbs (Olivia Williams) is also very genuine as well. This sub-plot works quite well because it shows the decisions Jenny makes is really hurting her and its someone like Miss Stubbs who can see it, even thought her parents suddenly seemed blind to it.

The film is elevated by great performances, everyone is fantastic actually and Carey Mulligan certainly deserves all the props she has been getting. She is definitely someone to be keeping an eye on, and without her I really doubt Jenny would have worked the way she does. It is performances like this which help make a film even better then it is. I have a hard time faulting this film, it isn’t perfect but it is a delightful film and a really great coming of age story.



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