An Education

Out Now On-Demand

Novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity) turns to screenplays with this drama which won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival 2009. Directed by Lone Scherfig (Italian for Beginners, Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself).

Set in early '60s London, Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is a 16-year-old full of promise and intent to study at Oxford. But a relationship with 30-year-old David (Peter Sarsgaard) sends her life off the rails. David introduces Jenny to a glittering new world of classical concerts and late-night suppers with his attractive friend and business partner, Danny (Dominic Cooper), and Danny's girlfriend, the beautiful but vacuous Helen (Rosamund Pike). Just as Jenny's family's long-held dream of getting their brilliant daughter into Oxford seems within reach, Jenny is tempted by another kind of life.

Read our exclusive interview with actor Alfred Molina.

Trailers

Awards

BAFTA winner for Best Actress (Carey Mulligan), 2010. Audience Award and Cinematography Award (World Cinema Dramatic), Sundance Film Festival 2009.

Directed by

Written by

Drama

95mins

Rating: M suitable for mature audiences

UK

Official Site

flicks

Based on the intimate memoir by well-known British journo Lynn Barber, An Education is the coming-of-age tale of a teenage girl picked up off the street by a much older man. While that sounds like the scenario for an extremely dodgy movie, An Education is about the ‘education’ of an English schoolgirl yearning to become ‘sophisticated’, swept up in an excitingly urbane, adult world.

Set in '60s London, Jenny (played by engaging newcomer Carey Mulligan) is wined and dined by a much older playboy David (Peter Sarsgaard). Thoughts of Oxford go out of Jenny's clever head as she is seduced by David's lifestyle, trips away, and his gorgeous friends - the suave art-collector Danny (Dominic Cooper) and the pretty but hilariously thick Helen (Rosamund Pike).

While the impressive cast includes Alfred Molina as Jenny's unsophisticated dad, plus Olivia Williams and Emma Thompson as her disappointed teachers, Rosamund Pike reveals herself as a comic genius, lending her nice-but-dim blonde Helen the most brilliantly vacant looks. The superbly understated Peter Sarsgaard even manages to make his would-be sleazy character sympathetic and even a little tragic.

Full of witty dialogue and amusing moments, as well as heartbreak, An Education is a perfect choice for anyone who likes their films funny, fresh, entertaining and even a little nostalgic for a bygone, more innocent, era.

Empire (UK)

press

A decent but unremarkable film with a big, unforgettable central performance. Carey Mulligan passes with First-Class Honours.

Salon.com

press

You could say that there's nothing surprising in the oft-told tale of the seducer and the schoolgirl -- hanging out with David is indeed fun, until the dynamic between them begins to shift subtly -- but this one's told superbly, with heart, humor, a marvelous supporting cast and a dazzling recreation of a long-lost, pre-Mod London.

Variety (USA)

press

A celebration of intellectual curiosity and personal adventure through a portrait of 16-year-old English girl’s questionable romance with a man twice her age, “An Education” is a wonderful film.

Full of European antisemitism

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Full of European antisemitism

There was no need to bring religion into the movie. Another accusation of Jews the Christ killer!


Sweet and enjoyable

Alfred Molina is a stand out

Review

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Review

Beautifully shot, lots of laughs, stunning locations (60s Paris is terribly romantic), and fun characters (Jenny's father is a hoot). My girlfriend and I loved it! A hit with the girls and plenty for the boys too.

Brian1

Brian

user


Probably a 2.5 in reality..

Somewhat cliched and predictable. Soft, but enjoyable.

Film of the year

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Film of the year

This is the best film I have seen in 2009.

L'espoir fleurit au ciel de Paris

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L'espoir fleurit au ciel de Paris

(3.5 stars)

Scripted by the reputably witty novelist Nick Hornby, who’s dialogue- a tight and jocular zeitgeist of British sixties repartee- seems to relevantly hark back to the timeless romance classics of an era gone by; and the cadence of which gives the scenes a life and energy that sets the film apart from others of its kind. Based on the brief memoir of Lynn Barber, Hornby takes an archetypal storyline and makes it appear refreshingly novel, while riddling it with abundant references to appropriate art, music and literature, including a few heavy-handed acknowledgments to the classic coming of age novel Jane Eyre.

An Education frequently and lavishly skills us in the auditory and ocular delights of the time; specifically those afforded to the upper classes, such as art, fine dining, classical music, etc.; with the soundtrack of the film featuring whimsical Parisian harmonies of Juliette Greco, the smooth 60’s jazz of various artists and even snippets of timeless classical pieces.

The performances here are altogether proficient. Notably, Rosamund Pike, who is surprisingly hilarious as the vacant, vapid Helen; and even the terribly miscast American thespian Peter Sarsgaard- who is typically more akin to John Malkovich than Cary Grant- does a reasonable job as Henry, the charming British rogue. Though An Education naturally belongs to the captivating charisma of relative neophyte Carey Mulligan, who carries the film with ease and sophistication far beyond both her experience level and age. She is the real throbbing heart of the film; dually exhibiting intelligence and sagacity in abundance while still retaining the capability of falling back into the naivety of youth- she is able to transform little inconsequential moments into something quite prodigious.

The film as a whole acts like one of the smooth, beguiling jazz tune's of its soundtrack, floating over the viewer, caressing delicately with words and nuances, painting rich pictures with its melody, capturing your attention completely, and yet never quite persuading you that this is what you want to be listening to. The enchanting delicacy of its harmony unravels towards the end, losing its way within the complexity of its own ambition; as the film’s fundamental message is just not presented convincingly enough.

An Education is a well-worn coming of age tale set within an intransigent and arduous world (especially for free-spirited females); and is ignited by a simple yet powerful performance from its young star. The film may be somewhat undone by a cliché and feeble climax, and an arbitrary and unnecessary voice-over closing- yet it ultimately offers us a course in how much things have changed over the years, how some things never seem to change, and that the lessons we learn along the way are what matters most in the end.


I feel educated

Really enjoyed this movie. Its the kind of movie you (as a bloke) can take your mum to and both leave the cinema happy. Funny, entertaining, educational.


Very good movie

A very nice movie that managed to avoid cliche and is led by a wonderful performance by Carey Mulligan as Jenny, the 16 going on 17 year old girl becoming a woman and learning all about the pitfalls of an adult life.

The only negative, maybe there wasn't enough closure with some of the major characters in the final quarter of the movie, people just fading away so everything could be wrapped up nice and neat.

Still, very entertaining and intelligent.

Beautiful to watch

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Beautiful to watch

I really liked the film - I was expecting it to be heart wrenching and instead it was humerous and Carey Mulligan was so well cast for the role.

A really lovely film

user


A really lovely film

Thoroughly enjoyed this film - a great mix of wonderful fashion, style, humour, and a lovely storyline.

Carey Mulligan was delightful to watch!