* Prices may differ from that shown
I have no idea why everyone seems to think this film is so good. I used it as a case study for my Media Studies essays, so perhaps I've got too many memories of exam halls, but I think this film is mediocre at best.
Carey Mulligan, the lead actress here, does put in a decent performance as the seduced Jenny - a sixth form girl embarking on an affair with an older man. Loosely based on the life of Lynne Barber, what this film generally does is make you want to slap both Jenny and her parents repeatedly for being so damned stupid. Maybe that naivety is the point, but it just comes across as idiocy.
The film is one of those slow, arty, British 'worthy' affairs - you know the type, the 'look at me, you have to like me because I'm so high brow' Emperor's New Clothes type films. I think I ended up rewinding half-way through because I'd fallen asleep. It is unbearably slow. Still though, if you want something to fall asleep in front of, you could do a lot worse.
Perhaps I'm being unduly harsh. The acting is decent, and done competently. The characters are more or less believable, despite the stupidity. Regardless though, the whole thing just feels mediocre - ok, nothing special - certainly not deserving of the hype, awards, and kudos that it's received. The setting of the 1960s is done well, and some people will enjoy seeing the clothes of the period, but all in all the whole thing just didn't do it for me.
Directed by Lone Scherfig
Starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Emma Thompson
Running Time: 95 minutes
An Education, set in 1960s Britain, tells the story of 16 year-old Jenny Mellor, a bright English schoolgirl, with hopes of getting into Oxford university. Almost by accident, Jennt meets David, a man well into his 30s. David turns out to be a charming man, who takes Jenny on many evenings out to concerts and fine restaurants. Though at first her parents seem reluctant to let her out past her curfew with an older man, they are soon charmed by the slightly mysterious David, and become close with him. For her 17th birthday, Jenny's father even allows David to take her to France, where they get to know each other on a more intimate level..but will Jenny find out more about his shadowed past?
Out of all the DVDs I received at Christmas, this one appealed to me the least, but I was still tempted to watch it after reading about the awards it received. I finally got around to watching a few weeks ago (with my 15 year old daughter) and I'm very glad I did.
The film was, overall, a success. I felt that the acting was held up largely by newcomer, Carey Mulligan, despite her being 10 years older than her character, I thought her portrayal of the 16 year-old lead, Jenny Mellor, was likeable and charming. She manages to relate her character to teens of today, and at the same time, seems wise beyond her years. The supporting cast excel as well, especially Alfred Molina in the role of Jenny's Father.
I found the movie managed to captivate me entirely, and in traditional British fashion, relies on good performances, writing and directing, as opposed to flashy visuals or a Hollywood cast. The film had a realistic and well-grounded story at its heart, and yet it wasn't at all boring or dull.
I highly recommend watching this, as it seems to me it would appeal to all ages, and definitely delivers positive messages to children and teenagers, so don't hesitate watching it with family.
I watched this film a week ago and its still haunting me.
An education is a film based on the real life experiences of British journalist Lynne Barber. Being a British film there is not alot of action , just down to earth nostalgic drama. In a way it is a romance with a different edge.Its not girly but I'm not sure if men would appriciate it.
The story starts in the 1960's , with Jenny a bright 16 year old girl with her sights firmly set on reading English at Oxford university.She comes from a sheltered middle class family who push her all the way. She is desperate to escape her stuffy boring world a dreams of living in France.
Her world is turned upside down one day when she is leaving her cello lesson. It is raining and a smart 35 year old man in a flashy car offers to transport her cello, as he is a music lover. After no persuading Jenny gets into the car. This is all so innocently shown. Jenny is portrayed as being wiser than her years , but in her school uniform it looks a bit dodgy. Maybe its the innocence of the age . In 1960 it could have been normal and safe to take lifts off strangers which this seems to portray , but these days it would look terrible.
Their relationship progresses and the man named David uses his charms to earn the trusts of Jennys family. He introduces her to the good life, and his glamorous rich friends. Then David proposes , and everyones lives will never be the same again.
This film is visually perfect. The sets and costumes make you believe its really 1960's. The actors and actresses are amazing. The actress who plays Jenny is very beievable. She is sweet and quirky and makes you fall in love with her. David seems to worship her, and has alot of respect and admiration for her. What seems strange is nobody seems to notice their extreme age difference or question their realationship. This dosn't seem realistic to me.
Overall this is a deep thought provoking film , with lots of social elements that leaves you asking yourself questions for a long time after. And shows the older man thing isn't as good as it seems. I'm now going to look for the biography of Lynne Barber
An education is a smart and beautiful film about a savvy 16 year old girl in 1960's England who meets a 35 year old man and falls for him.
Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is the main character in the film, a graceful, intelligent young lady with the world at her feet, until she David (Peter Saarsgard). David is a rakish character, he initially spies her at a bus stop and offers her a lift in his sports car, from here a childhood crush develops into something more intense, David does much of the running, but clearly understands which buttons to press to impress this young lady.
Jenny is so mature for a 16 year old that the feelings she has never seem like a romance, more a childs infatuation, but through the eyes of a woman. The story unfolds and Jenny learns some valuable life lessons, hence the films title but at no point do you feel sorry for her, because Mulligan infuses her with strength and a real sense of purpose throughout. The relationship is dealt with admirably and screenwriter Nick Hornby adds a lot of intelligence to the original book by journalist Lynne Barber.
Some have compared Mulligan's performance to a young Audrey Hepburn and I can see where they are coming from, she is mature, incredibly watchable and precocious throughout and this is a memorable debut, her character is filled with hope a love of life and a real excitement for life, it's a joy to watch and she has the audience with her throughout.
Excellent support is provided by Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour as Jenny's parents Jack and Marjorie, an average middle class family with aspirational dreams for their daughter, they are proud and hope for the best for the daughter they adore, but their hopes for their daughter cloud their judgement somewhat as the charming David charms them in the same manner as he has their daughter. Molina in particular fills his character with the desire for his daughter to do well and the embarrassed air of a man who wants to better himself but can't hide his own working class background.
The film is really enjoyable Saarsgard makes David believably have a real interest in Jenny's intellect as well as her looks, but it is clear that beyond the charm lurks something slightly less pleasant, his acting is instilled with this duality and you can tell that once he has taken the young lady to Paris, his mission may have been accomplished. This wolf in sheepskin clothing has the air of many a young rotter of the period, his back story is interesting when it comes to light and we begin to realise that he is a dreamer who perhaps even convinces himself of his stories.
The film offers the viewer a realistic London of the era, it looks great, the acting really hits the mark, especially Mulligan, Saarsgard and Molina, as an ensemble piece it works brilliantly. Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike louchely add to the proceedings as well to do friends of David's, whilst Emma Thompson is also excellent as the head teacher at first proud of her charge and then disappointed in her change in behaviour.
The film is about adolescence and the decisions we make that can truly change our lives, it is an interesting and well created film which is perfectly encapsulated, it's not overlong and never tries to overdramatize, allowing the actors to bring the most out of the script often in a much understated manner.
Visually this is a lovely film due to the clothes the music and the London of the era, it visually reminded me a lot of the Mad Men style, intellectually it offers a lot, whilst the ending could be considered slightly easy, overall this film challenges the viewer and introduces a bright young star in the effervescent Mulligan.
Available on Amazon for £4.49 this is a real bargain.
I decided to watch this as it received three Oscar nominations and also stars Carey Mulligan who got worldwide recognition for her role, her brilliant acting most recently seen in 'Never Let Me Go'.
The DVD cover features Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard in Paris, perhaps the most glamorous part of the movie- the age difference is obvious, highlighting the central aspect of the movie and their flawed affair and conflict of interests. Attractive, yet classy.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is an A grade student aspiring to read English at Oxford University. Since a chance meeting with David (Peter Sarsgaard), a stranger almost twice her age who offers her a lift home, she becomes drawn into a world of music, glamour and wealth which he shows to her. As her rebellion rises and her grades drop, she must make a choice of wasting away her academic potential or living the life that she's always wanted right now.
It was quick to see where this coming of age drama would go as Jenny is fascinated by the world David is living, but he's always keeping something from her. There was always something very suspicious about David and his friends Danny (Dominic Cooper) and Helen (Rosamund Pike). Despite his lies, Jenny falls for the lifestyle he can provide her. As he offers her a lifetime of glamour, what will Jenny do? Will she choose him over an Oxford Education? At this point, the movie definitely reaches the point of no return, where the decision Jenny makes will affect her forever.
It is also at this point that the themes surface. The idea of wasting our lives studying and working but not really living, but most importantly, the idea that women don't need an education if they can be a kept woman. In the way the movie unfolds, these themes are dealt with from both perspectives as Jenny experiences both.
In a way, the movie falls into tragedy and almost an uncontrollable spiral into a fated ending, given we can all see where it was going, but Jenny couldn't. There is great beauty in her pain and her discovery of the truth, and in doing so, gives her new insight into life and puts her on the right track which becomes a great catharsis.
Carey Mulligan- Jenny
Peter Sarsgaard- David
Dominic Cooper- Danny
Rosamund Pike- Helen
Also stars Olivia Williams, Cara Seymour and Alfred Molina.
Carey Mulligan deserved for Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Jenny- the range of emotions and subtle expression make her animated and likeable. She seems to also be able to cry whenever she wants to, her tears are never fake or forced.
Peter Sarsgaard has the charm and flair to be the older man in this movie (I think it is because he can smile with his eyes).
I really liked Rosamund Pike- she has some really funny lines- whilst Dominic Cooper acts as great moral support for Jenny.
The DVD can be purchased for under £5 online.
Oscar nominated, 'An Education' is a coming of age story about life with a great script and deep themes such as suppression of woman, shooting young Carey Mulligan to the top with her Oscar nomination for her role as Jenny. The film is glamorous but one that many can relate to, questioning the choices we make in life and if there really are 'shortcuts' to getting what we want.
I watched this film last night and really enjoyed it. It was on our love film list so we had been wanting to watch it for a while, but we actually watched it on BBC 2 last night. We were mildly surprised to see that it was being shown on TV so soon, as it is only two years old, being released into cinemas in 2009, and released onto DVD in March 2010. Normally when you see films on TV so soon after being released you expect them not to be any good, but I really liked this film and thought it actually was really good.
The film stars Carey Mulligan as a young school girl called Jenny. The film is set in the 1950s I think, or somewhere around this time period. Jenny is one of the cleverest in her class and is studying to get into Oxford university. Her school is a really strict all girls school. Her father seems very pushy at the beginning of the film, trying to get her to work her hardest to make sure she gets into Oxford. She has never really been away from home or done anything exciting, the most exciting thing in her life at the start of the film seems to be her books and her cello.
Then one day this all changes as she is standing by a bus stop in the pouring rain with her cello and she is offered a lift home by a handsome older man who claims to be a big lover of music. This man charms her and soon they become lovers, and he whisks her away into this glamorous lifestyle of exciting new things. Suddenly she realises how boring her old life was and she must choose between Oxford and this new man. But there are some twists and turns in the film as this man isn't who he seems.
I thought the film was really enjoyable and I would definitely recommend watching it. I had heard about it before and had been looking to watch it for a while, and when I did I was not disappointed. I can't think of any disadvantages for the film. I would have payed to see this in the cinema as it was really good. The certificate is 12 and running time is 95 minutes. Recommended.
RELEASED: 2009, Cert.12
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 95 mins
DIRECTOR: Lone Sherfig
PRODUCER: David M Thompson
SCREENPLAY: Nick Hornby
MUSIC: Paul Englishby
Carey Mulligan as Jenny
Alfred Molina as Jack, Jenny's father
Cara Seymour as Marjorie, Jenny's mother
Peter Sarsgaard as David
Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, Olivia Williams
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Based on journalist Lynn Barber's memoirs, An Education begins in 1961 and tells the story of 16-year-old Jenny who lives in a leafy avenue part of London with her parents, Jack and Marjorie. Jack is a rather dull man - well at least he appears that way to Jenny and Marjorie - and he constantly keeps pushing for the very bright Jenny to try and get into Oxford University, willing to sacrifice a lot in order to guide her on her way.
Jenny is the bright girl in her grammar school class, being very pretty plus quite mature and articulate for her 16 years. She also has a well-developed appreciation of music and plays cello at her school concerts.
One afternoon whilst Jenny is attempting to walk home from school in a torrential downpour, an older man (David) - a stranger - offers her a lift and when she expresses her reservations, he offers to merely take her cello into the car to protect it from the rain, then drive very slowly so she can walk alongside the car. Amused by the man's sense of humour, Jenny agrees to his suggestion, but after a few steps, changes her mind and jumps into the car with him. He takes her and the cello home, unharmed.
Over the next few days, David seems to keep making appearances outside Jenny's school and the pair gradually strike up a friendship. David comes across as a very easy-going, caring, light-hearted, amusing person and he even manages to charm her parents when Jenny takes him indoors to meet them.
It isn't long before David's and Jenny's friendship adopts a romantic persuasion, and the young girl revels in the lifestyle he introduces her to....one of concerts, jazz clubs, parties, posh restaurants and Paris. There is a shadowy side to David's life though which Jenny does have an awareness of the surface of, but it doesn't deter her from wanting to get closer to him. As David continues to shower Jenny with charm, gifts and gentlemanly gestures, she becomes more interested in what he is offering and less interested in her quest to gain a place at Oxford University.
That sets the scene, and to find out what happens, you must watch it for yourself.
As is often the case with me and more recent films, I didn't pay too much attention to the brief description on the DVD sleeve, so wasn't quite sure what to expect - naturally hoping I wouldn't be disappointed.
The first thing which irritated me when I clicked the 'play' button was that I had to sit through four reviews of other films, which appear to be decidedly boring. OK, it only took a couple of minutes, but I was impatient to get to the main course. Naturally that particular piece of irksomeness isn't at all a slur upon the film An Education in itself, but I like to get straight down to the nitty-gritty with as little messing around as possible.
As soon as the movie real began, I was immediately captivated and had an instant feeling that I was about to be drawn into a very special cinematic feast. Straight away, the film had all the qualities of a very good TV play rather than being a movie blockbuster, and I quickly found the very true-to-life portrayal of this young, intelligent schoolgirl's day to day existence utterly absorbing, heartwarming and fascinating.
Enormous care was taken - probably more than in any other recent film set in a past era that I've ever seen - to create an early 1960s atmosphere. All the fashions, the cars in the street, the shops, music, the school classrooms and teachers...everything....was spot on, even down to an old-style Lyons Ice Cream wooden advertising stand outside a newsagent's shop.
As the story (which I assume is based on truth, due to it being an adaptation of Lynn Barber's memoirs) progressed, I was riveted to the screen, totally caught up in the characters and the powerful sense of realism present.
The acting by all of the main cast and the sub-main cast too, was truly superb and I can't pick out any individual performer who shone above any of the others. I felt as if I was literally transported back in time to 1961 and was a fly on the wall watching a slice of real life.
I feel that An Education would appeal to a wide audience of all ages, especially those who have clear memories of Britain in 1961. Even if that was way before anybody's time, this is a film which charms and warms the soul in a partly cosy, partly soft rebellious way and there honestly (at least for me) is not one single boring or out of place moment in the entire production. My guess would be that it possibly could appeal to women a little above men, as it's strongly of the human element throughout, and doesn't contain any cops/robbers, monsters, car chases, axe-wielding maniacs, blood, creepy bits, spies, gangsters and suchlike. It's just a down-to-earth story of how a young girl with a potentially brilliant future ahead of her, meets someone of the opposite sex who introduces her to a different lifestyle.
I thoroughly enjoyed An Education and it has hurtled high up into my all-time top 100 films list. The only advice I can give is.....watch it, as it's a truly superb film all round, with an excellent soundtrack too.
At the time of writing, An Education can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £3.10 to £13.99
Used: from £3.09 to £9.95
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above costs.
Currently, An Education appears to have been uploaded onto YouTube in its entirety, consisting of 10 parts which last between 9 and 10 minutes. If you wish to watch this on YouTube, take care to differentiate between the full movie download and another which claims to be the film in 13 parts, yet merely directs you to another website. There are also quite a few clips/trailers that can be watched as tasters.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~
When this arrived from my DVD rental company I wasn't overly keen to watch it. I was looking forward to seeing it but I had heard both good and bad things about the film so thought it would be another that I found average. I am much more a comedy girl myself! This is a film only review.
Jenny lives in suburbia with her mother and father. They both have very high expectations of her, especially her father who wants her to go to Oxford and read English. Jenny is keen but sometimes thinks her father is a bit tough on her, her mother is more laid back and you can see that sometimes she thinks the same about her husband.
One day, Jenny is waiting at the bus stop in the pouring rain. She has her cello with her which of course is getting soaking wet. A car pulls alongside her and the man says he is worried about her cello in the rain, he understands she wont get in the car with him but suggests she puts her cello in and walks alongside the car. She agrees and in the end asks if she can get in the car with him. The mans name is David and Jenny is amazed to find he loves exactly what she does.
A few days later Jenny bumps into David. He asks her to a concert and for supper afterwards and she reluctantly tells him her father wouldn't allow it. David tells her to leave it to him and he will talk her father round, is Jenny really going to begin a love affair with a man almost twice her age?
I actually really enjoyed this film. I was engrossed in Jenny's story from the start and was really keen to see what would happen to her. The film is set in the 60s and I didn't realise this before I watched the film, I found this really interesting as I don't watch a great deal of films set in this era and found it a fresh change.
I loved the character of Jenny, she was a well mannered 16 year old girl who I felt I could really relate to. I understood her completely when she became interested in David however I did feel protective over her, thinking immediately that David couldn't be as perfect as he seemed. I was very wary of David and thought there must be something he wasn't telling Jenny as he really did seem like the perfect man.
I enjoyed the plot of the film. David takes Jenny to many places and also takes her to see many things. This makes the scenery of the film fresh and also means there is always plenty going on and plenty to focus on. There are no sub plots and the film just focuses on Jenny's life. However, I thought this was fine as there really was lots to watch.
The acting in the film was very strong, I think the only person I have seen on the screen before is the man who played David (Peter Sarsgaard) and his acting was on top form, as was Carey Mulligan who played Jenny.
The ending of the film sort of surprised me even though I knew it was coming! This was done really well as even though I knew something like this was going to happen, I was still shocked when it did! I felt the ending of the film wrapped everything up very well and I had no questions that were left unanswered.
The film was released in 2009.
It stars Carey Mullighan and Peter Sarsgaard.
It was directed by Lone Scherfig.
It runs for 100 minutes.
It is rated a 12A in the UK.
IMDB give it a rating of 7.5/10 (26,974 votes).
An enjoyable drama which was a nice change from my usual comedy.
I got quite a few DVDs for Christmas mainly thanks to my family taking note of my Amazon wish-list. One film that I wanted to see for a while was An Education and luckily this was one of the DVDs I received. I am only ever interested in the film when I get a DVD so this is going to be a film only review even though there are some extras on the DVD.
I am often attracted to British films as they usually seem to be a bit more down to earth and less sentimental than American ones although I realise that is a huge generalisation. An Education was no disappointment and I really enjoyed watching it even though it was not quite what I was expecting! I had mistakenly thought the story line would be based on students at university. Instead it is about a young schoolgirl called Jenny (Carey Mulligan). Although she has high hopes of being accepted at an Oxford college, she ends up receiving an altogether different education when she meets an older man called David (Peter Saarsgaard) and is tempted by his exciting lifestyle.
Because the film is set in 1961 it was fascinating to observe the different attitudes towards education especially as far as women were concerned. Jenny's father, Jack, (Alfred Molina) is determined that his daughter will go to Oxford and makes sure she does her homework and has worthwhile hobbies such as playing the cello. Jenny's teacher, Miss Stubbs (Olivia Williams), is immensely proud and encouraging of her star pupil, but is equally dismayed when she sees Jenny apparently going off the rails with her new boyfriend. The headmistress (Emma Thompson) makes it clear in no uncertain terms that if she lets the school down, there will be no place for her there, never mind her Oxford prospects.
These opinions and pressures are countered however by David's views and those of his friends Danny (Dominic Cooper) and Helen (Rosamund Pike). None of these have had much of an education and are all chancers by nature. Therefore they don't really value education and tend to mock those who do. Jenny finds herself torn in the middle and although she enjoys her studies and wants to go to Oxford, the lure of David's way of life is very strong especially as she compares it to that of her own parents. This ultimately leads her to say and do things that she could easily regret later but, as the saying goes, love is blind!
I thought that all of the characters were cast well and were quite believable in themselves. However, I did think it highly unlikely that the somewhat sophisticated David would bother with such an innocent schoolgirl like Jenny although I presume he saw her as something of a challenge. I was also highly incredulous of the fact that Jenny's parents would allow their daughter to have anything to do with the likes of David. I'm sure my dad would never have allowed it. I think the point was though, that David appeared to be husband material which would mean that mum and dad would no longer have to look after her! The very strange attitudes from the early sixties both fascinating and repulsed me at the same time.
The story drew me in from the very start and kept my interest throughout, which it also did for my husband. This surprised me a little as I would not say that this is really his sort of film. It just goes to show that it can appeal to both sexes.
I enjoyed the backdrop of the sixties and loved seeing the clothes and the furniture. I kept spotting the sorts of things that my mum had in her kitchen such as one of those large egg coloured mixing bowls! There is also some great background music that is very reflective of the age in which the film is set.
An Education is a very easy to watch film that just flows and draws you in. It is fascinating to view some of the attitudes of the time and to reflect thankfully on just how much things have changed in forty years. I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend.
The DVD is currently available on Amazon for only £5.29 (January 2011).
Written by Lynn Barber, a British Journalist, and based on her real life experiences as a teenager having an affair with a much older man; adapted by Nick Hornby, An Education is set in 1961 in Twickenham. It is a beautifully written film with witty and well crafted dialogue exploring the themes of meaning and purpose.
Carey Mulligan stars as Jenny, a 16 year old schoolgirl who is being pushed by her family to go to Oxford.
Peter Sarsgaard plays David, an older Jewish man who woos Jenny.
Emma Thompson has a cameo as the headteacher and there are other fine roles but Jenny and David are the two key players and their performances are excellent; Mulligan giving Jenny just the right amount of precociousness and naivety which the role needs; Sarsgaard gives David not only charm but also an unsettling creepiness which never leaves.
Jenny is being pushed by her parents to attend Oxford and yet at the same time is discovering the existentialist works of Camus, seeking to break beyond her controlling father's grip for the experiences of France and culture, something which he despises.
One heavily rainy day David gives Jenny a lift home in his Bristol sports car with her cello and before long he is taking her out with his friends to expensive restaurants and classical concerts. Promises of trips to Paris and sexual awakening are on the horizon as Jenny gets more and more involved with David and his friends.
It is on a trip back from Oxford to 'meet' CS Lewis that Jenny discovers that David is not all she first thought but that he and his friends steal from elderly ladies. He also confesses to her that the way he makes his money is by moving black families next to older residents so that they will move out and sell him their houses cheaply.
Still, however, she does not walk away but her school work suffers and she grows disillusioned with going to Oxford.
Slowly her family are charmed by David too. And eventually he offers to take them all to Paris. It is when he stops for petrol en route that she discovers letters in his glovebox which he reveals he has a wife. This finishes the affair and she discovers that there have been many others just like her.
The film ends with her studying at Oxford.
In being confronted by her headteacher:
Jenny, 'It's not enough to educate us Miss Walters, you have to tell us why you're doing it.'
Headteacher, 'There's not just teaching you know. There's the civil service!'
Jenny, 'I don't mean to be impertinent but it is an argument worth rehearsing. You never know, someone may want to know the point of it all someday.'
In discussion with her teacher,
'If we're all going to die when we graduate, isn't it what we do before that counts!'
The trailers preceding this film were all for rom-coms and I must say that I had written this off as a bit of chick flick, but I was very wrong. This is smart and intelligent drama, and kept me entertained throughout.
But the key aspects of the film seem to be an exploration of meaning and the purpose of life through the eyes of a 17 year old. So the setting is key; 1961, just prior to the swinging sixties kicking in and the influence of French existentialism and culture.
Faced with this Jenny has to decide between education and experience; is she going to live for knowledge or live for the buzz to define herself? Will she carry on working hard just to work hard or live for the thrill of culture and fine meals and the excitement that her friends bring to her life? So her father's comments that they used to have a life once consistently grate on her and she takes the decision to 'live', to experience life to the full.
However this, too, is an empty, hollow, shell and soon disappears, leaving her unhappy and without anything, the opportunity to go to Oxford has seemingly disappeared. In fact when she confronts David's friends for not having told her he was married, they retort that she was quite happy to steal with them, morality works both ways.
So if education for the sake of it is pointless, it simply results in being bored educating others, and experience is like shifting sand, prone to disappear like the morning mists, what is there left? Well, surprisingly, in one of the most poignant moments in the film we discover it is family. Jenny's father, for once humble and contrite, apologises to her for 'messing up.'
The film, in search of a happy ending, seems to ignore this and instead we see Jenny in Oxford, the very life she had initially rejected. This is the great flaw in the film in my opinion and lets it down badly. It ends up saying little when it could have said a lot. In answer to the question, 'What is life about?', the answer seems to be, 'Don't know, so get on and live it!'
A very enjoyable film with great acting, a great soundtrack and some very sharp dialogue but sadly it fails to convince with its departing salvo. It reminds me of these words from Ecclesiastes:
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless."
What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
What is nice about it, though, is its lack of sex and swearing which makes it a safe watch. Granted the subject matter is strong and there are a lot of allusions, but in terms of crossing the mark there is little hence the 12 rating. This would be a good one to show to a youth group to make them think.
A good film, I give it 4 stars.
Also on Ciao
I got this dvd on the back of the many nominations and awards it received recently and the great reviews that I've read about it.
* Plot *
In Twickenham, London 1961 Jenny Millar (Carey Mulligan) is a bright and intelligent 16 year old girl studying hard to gain entry to Oxford University. She has a liking for literature and the arts, but particularly for all things French. Her dream is of going to Paris.
Her parents Jack and Marjorie (Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour) do everything they can to guide her to a successful Oxford university application. Jack spends a lot of time, effort money to achieving this end. Jack makes Jenny play the cello because he thinks that it will look good on her application, and shows that she likes to join in. Jenny isn't so sure, and thinks that she should only do the things that she wants to do; much like a typical teenager.
One day Jenny is standing waiting for a bus after school in the pouring rain. A man, David Goldman (Peter Sarsgaard), pulls up alongside her in his car and offers her a lift in his own debonair manner. He duly takes her home, and soon after accidently meeting again, offers to take her to a proper grown-up concert, which is something Jenny really wants to do. David obviously takes a keen interest in Jenny, despite an obvious age difference. The seduction process begins and David sweetens Jenny with a grand lifestyle of theatre trips, fancy auctions, shopping and holidays. He introduces her to all the things she's been passionate about for so long, making her dreams come true.
David meets Jenny's parents, and initially wary they soon fall for his charms in much the same way that Jenny did. The more they see of David, they grow to like and trust him. David even sweet talks them into taking Jenny away for a weekend in Oxford where she will meet C. S. Lewis and do her chances of getting a place at university there the world of good. Her parents obviously want her to do anything possible to improve her chances, so they agree.
Obviously, Jenny is very happy spending time with David. However, her grades start to slip at school and the teachers starts to get concerned as the rumours of her with an older man start to spread. Eventually she has to make a decision. Will she keep seeing David and play happy families with him or will continue with her education and make something of her life?
* Opinion *
I really didn't get what all the fuss was about regarding this film. I understand it won many nominations and awards, including best actress for Carey Mulligan. However, I failed to see the appeal.
Carey Mulligan was the lead in this film and although she won awards for the role I was a little disappointed with her performance. For one, she was far too mature for a 16 year old. She is supposed to be naïve and have strong feelings for this older man, but for me she just appeared to accept everything put in front of her with no thought or feeling.
Peter Sarsgaard played the role of David well, but he wasn't half creepy. Although he is obviously a much older man than Jenny, nothing was really made of it in the film, not even Jenny's parents, which I thought was a little strange.
We meet Jenny's English teacher Olivia Williams and her head teacher Emma Thompson, but they were hugely underused. Back in the 60's I'm sure that these reputable people would have had much more of a bearing on Jenny's thoughts and decisions.
One thing I couldn't fault was the setting. The 60's era has been captured superbly. The attention to detail was excellent. The houses, cars, clothes and the little things like tax discs and tea cosies.
There are a few areas of discussion coming from this film which I think it succeeds in raising. Is it more important to complete your education or follow your heart and your dreams? Is it acceptable for a much older guy to be dating a 16 year old girl? Although the film doesn't attempt to answer the questions, it raises the debates very well.
Overall, I found the film to be quite dull and boring. Alfred Molina was the only actor with any character, everyone else was so flat. I know it isn't the most exciting of plots but I thought that in the main the acting wasn't convincing and the story was just plain old boring. I apologise to those who really liked this film, but unfortunately it didn't appeal to me at all.
Film: An Education
Running Time: 96mins
Price: £6.93 (Amazon)
Based upon an autobiographical essay by British journalist Lynn Barber, Nick Hornby has adapted the story into a really clever film script. In 1961, Jenny Millar (Carey Mulligan) is a 16 year old schoolgirl with a brilliant future ahead of her. Oxford is looming and she wants to travel and see films and escape the drab life of her family. One day she is rescued from the rain by a tall dark stranger and older man David Goldman (Peter Sarsgard). David does his best to seduce Jenny, although she needs hardly any encouragement because he takes her to the opera, to Paris and her parents like him. But just who is this guy, and is he worth risking your education for?
I usually always try and catch The Academy Awards every year, mainly because of the smaller films that get nominated that usually end up being films I really want to see. An Education was one of those films, at the time I had never heard of it - but it had been nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. All high praise for a small British film with a relatively unknown cast.
The period setting was superbly recreated showing shop front and cars with exact detail, without dwelling too much on the 60's side of things. Being 1961, the swinging side of the 60's had yet to begin - neither had the female sexual revolution. This was mainly a Britain still etched in post war austerity - still really the 1950's in many ways. And the film recreates that drabness and washed out colour very well.
Carey Mulligan was the standout star of this film. She exudes the naivety that is so important for her character and as the film progresses she blossoms into a upright and mature young woman. It's a brilliant portrayal that won her an Academy Award nomination, so I'm guessing that Sandra Bullock was absolutely amazing in The Blind Side otherwise she was robbed!
Essentially a coming of age drama, An Education could be compared to another recent Brit film 'Cemetery Junction'. An Education is much more reserved than that film though with a lot less comedy. It was really engaging and kept me interested throughout.
Peter Sarsgard was very effective in the role of the tall dark stranger, but it was strange that no one, not even Jenny's parents even mentioned the age difference. If this sort of relationship were to happen today Sarsgard would certainly have been put on the sex offenders register!
If I did have a criticism, it would be that Emma Thompson and Olivia Williams' roles could have been increased as they were both good as the head teacher and English teacher respectively. However, it is Alfred Molina who is certainly the most memorable character playing Jenny's straight laced father.
An Education was a very good Brit flick indeed and one that you could easily recommend to your Mum or Dad!
"If you never do anything, you never become anything."
A fairly simple and perhaps obvious statement, but I feel that this quote perfectly sums up what 'An Education' was really about. For what kind of life can you have if you drift from one boring stage to the next, and never feel as though you really do anything interesting at all?
It is 1961, and Jenny is a sixteen year old girl studying for her A Levels at a girls' school in Twickenham. She plays the cello in an orchestra and studies Latin without really enjoying it and only does so in order to be able to go to Oxford to read English. She loves literature, music and anything French, but has never even been to a concert because her parents 'don't believe in them'. Life goes on in such a way until one day she meets a man called David, who not only believes in concerts but all the other wondrous things in life that Jenny longs to experience as well.
I first saw this film a couple of months ago in an independent cinema, not knowing anything about it before I watched it, and was absolutely blown away by it. I was not surprised to discover that Carey Mulligan (who played Jenny) won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar for best actress because of this film, as her performance as an intelligent yet naive young girl was outstanding. On watching the film for a second time now that it's out on DVD, I was again very impressed by how excellent this film is in general and how excellent the whole cast were. Peter Sarsgaard was superb in his part as the very charming David and managed to make him into a very three dimensional character, although it was very much Carey Mulligan's film. Even the actors for the smaller parts were excellent, though I shall not mention them all or we'll be here all day, but I thought that Rosamund Pike was particularly good as the slightly slow yet very likeable Helen.
The screenplay was written by Nick Hornby, and was adapted from the memoirs of one Lynn Barber (journalist and interviewer for the Observer). On doing a bit of research after watching the film I was quite surprised to discover exactly how closely it followed the events of Lynn Barber's actual life and how even some small details were included in the film. I thought it was just down to the excellent acting and writing that 'An Education' felt so realistic, but the fact that it is a true story probably has a large part to play in its credibility as well. Well, whether it was fact or fiction, the fact remains that the story of this film is a fantastic one that could just as well happen now as fifty years ago. That's not to say that the film didn't do the sixties justice, as the fashions and atmosphere of the decade were well captured and flavoured the style of the movie.
'An Education' really summarises itself better than I ever could in its own title, for it is a film about Jenny's increasing knowledge of the world. She learns not only English, French and Latin, but also 'about expensive restaurants and luxury hotels and foreign travel, I learned about antiques and Bergman films and classical music' (to quote Lynn Barber herself) and especially about men and her own naivety about the world.
'An Education' is, in my opinion (and in that of the BAFTAs, Academy Awards and any all the other bodies that nominated it for awards) one of the best films of the past year, and is well worth its £6.49 price on Amazon. As well as some lessons about life, it has really taught me how good British films really can be.
At one point around March I was still looking for a job, and decided to attempt to watch all of the Oscar nominated movies. I managed to get quite far, before my new job sucked up all of my time. This is one of the films I managed to see more recently.
An Education is not the sort of film I would usually enjoy, it looked quite boring I have to say when I saw the trailers, but I needed an extra DVD to complete my 4 for £10 at Blockbusters so I picked up this one. Me and the family sat down to watch the movie, not really expecting much but as you can see from the 4 stars it was pleasantly good.
In 1960's a talented, smart young school girl called Jenny Meller meets an older man called David. He begins to show her the world and indulges all of her passions, and begins to romance her in the nicest way possible. Her dreams of going to Oxford are dashed, and she decides that the life she is experiencing with David is much better than her school life. Does she open her eyes and realize that this may not be a good way to live, or does her love of everything that David is showing her, cloud her judgment yet again.
Alfred Molina- Jack Meller
Kara Seymour- Marjorie Meller
Carey Mulligan- Jenny Meller
David- Peter Saarsgard
Danny- Dominic Cooper
Carey Mulligan is not an actress I've heard of really before at all, but her performance in this film will certainly get her many parts in the future. This 24 or 25 year old actress plays the role of this 16 year old perfectly, she has very youthful looks, and unlike certain televisions shows which like to get 30 year olds to play 16 year olds and expect us to believe that they are that age, she is actually very believable. She had brilliant chemistry with Peter Saarsgard who is an actor I have seen in many films over the years. For some reason, each time I see him, and I am sometimes correct, he does seem to have this bad boy look about him. I think if you saw him in a horror, he has the sort of face, which makes you think 'he is the baddie'. He delivers a terrific performance in this movie, he works brilliantly well with Mulligan and despite being only 14 years older than the Mulligan in real life, the age gap looks a lot older within the film, making it rather creepy in places.
These two actors are brilliantly supported by Dominic Cooper, who I have previously seen in quite a few films. This was the first time I had really seen him in a role like this, I do think he delivers a lot more than what was actually written down on the paper in front of him. Other cast members include Alfred Molina who played the octopus in Spiderman 2, he plays Jenny's dad and delivers a fantastic performance, he really does command the presence of the audience when he is on screen, a terrific performance from a guy I haven't really had the opportunity to see in anything other than Spiderman.
The film is very British, which I'm afraid would usually put me off straight away. I thought despite this that it was very well done and they showed of Britain very well. One of the strongest points of the film for me is the costume design; I do believe it won awards for it as well, don't quote me on this as I'm not sure, but if it didn't it deserved them. The music throughout the movie is very strong 60's music, they really have managed to create an atmosphere of what I'm sure most of us believe the 60's to be like. I was really impressed with this, as the music did really help the movie along in places where I think the script was faltering a little bit.
It is not my usual type of film, and I don't think I'll be going to recommend it to my mates, but to the people reading this, take a chance on this movie like I did, maybe it will surprise you as much as it did me. It's not the most enrapturing movie of all time, and in some places, we did find ourselves twiddling our thumbs a little bit, but the rest of the movie in my opinion makes up for it. It has a really strong script, a really strong cast, who together deliver a very good movie.
The movie has many themes running around it, I think the main one, is to try to help people work out, if having a life is more important than education, or is education first important, and then having a life. I really enjoyed the romance between David & Jenny, unlike with Crazy Heart, where Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal get together, and most of us in the cinema seemed to cringe every time they kissed, it didn't come across as discusting, it was rather tastlefully done and I think the movie gains a lot of points because of this.
The reason why I only gave this film 4 stars out of 5 is because in some places it does struggle and we did find ourselves needing to occupy our time otherwise. It was a little long for me, and I think in places it didn't flow as well as I would like. Everything else was superb though, the acting was very strong, Sarsgaard provides us with a brilliant English accent which never gets insulting like some of these American's accents do. A really strong piece of cinema, which may not appeal to everyone, but if you enjoy a good drama, then I'm sure this movie is for you.
Please rent it rather than buy it though at the moment, as it does seem to still be full price. You will really only get your moneys worth if it's rented out.
Hope this helps.
© Kirsty 2010
An Education is set in London during the early 60's. 16 year old Jenny (played by Carey Mulligan) is a clever and gifted school girl who at the behest of her eager father has her eyes firmly set on Oxford. She has been so focused on her studies she has never experienced the sophistication she reads about in French literature and the romanticism she finds in music. On a rainy day coming back from school she is offered a lift from David (played by Peter Sarsgaard), at first she is very sceptical of his offer, but he soon convinces her that his intentions are honest, and to a degree he convinced me too, but Peter Sarsgaard always has a sinister look about him, the kind of look which tells you not to trust this man. The impressionable school girl Jenny very quickly falls for the charms of David, who immediately appeals to her passion for art, music and culture that her parents have always lacked.
For me the film suffered from poor casting, the key error being Peter Sarsgaard, who pulls of a convincing English accent but every now and then you can hear that American twang, also he just doesn't look like a character you can trust, he always looks like he is up to something, and I can see why he had been cast, as although he comes across rather charming and very likeable, he always has that something about him which tells you take whatever he says with a pinch of salt. For me that's where the problem lies. The character of David needed to be more likeable and have a face you could trust, especially if you are trusting him enough to let your 16 year old daughter go away on a holiday with him for a weekend. I would have seen a young Michael Caine playing the role of David perfectly, or even today they could have gotten Jude Law who would have fit the bill pretty well. The parents are cast very well and her father, as deplorable as he was, was acted really well by Alfred Molina.
Also I was never convinced with Carey Mulligan playing a 16 year old, she just looks too old for a 16 year old, her frame and build make her look very young, but facially she looks older and doesn't have that innocence about her that I feel the role needed.
Overall the acting and directing is good, the script by Nick Hornby is solid enough, but the film lacks any real punch and is a little predictable, I enjoyed the film but I don't think I will be rushing to watch it again, or will remember past a few days. Carey Mulligan is lined up to play lead in the My Fair Lady remake which I think will be perfect casting and am looking forward to that