Published Oct 22, 2009Those prep school girls are always up to something. Danish director Lone Scherfig's latest film, An Education, tells the story of 16-year-old Jenny (Carey Mulligan), bound for Oxford and bored out of her mind. Set in '60s suburban London, Jenny's world is made up of Latin homework, youth orchestra rehearsals and fantasies of living in Paris.
But her life suddenly takes a different turn when she meets David (Peter Sarsgaard), an older man who lives the exciting life she's always dreamed of. David is handsome, charming and introduces Jenny to a life of art auctions, jazz clubs and beautiful people. Along with David's posse of socialites, Danny (Dominic Cooper) and Helen (Rosamund Pike), Jenny receives, as the title suggests, a different kind of education. The new grown-up world of parties and fancy clothes has Jenny bedazzled and her classmates jealous. That is, until she gets a bit too caught up in it.
An Education is a classic growing up story about, well, growing up. Its dysfunctional family dynamics are something everyone can relate to and are genuinely funny thanks to Alfred Molina's portrayal of Jenny's father. Mulligan (of Pride and Prejudice fame) gets the character of Jenny to the tee, and brings a considerable amount of depth to the role. The '60s England setting also makes for fun costumes and a first-rate soundtrack.
While An Education might not hit as hard as some of Scherfig's past work, including the award-winning Italian For Beginners, it's well acted and a fun film to watch. Sure, the whole growing up thing isn't exactly new but at the very least you'll leave the theatre satisfied. (Mongrel Media)