An Education (PG-13) 95 minutes A-
A lesson in love, innocence and rich older men (or the miseducation of Jenny)
Starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Olivia Williams, Sally Hawkins, Cara Seymour, Matthew Beard and Emma Thompson.
There's a lot of Oscar buzz surrounding Carey Mulligan's performance in this film, and based on what I've seen so far this year (I've yet to see Precious) only Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia has delivered a performance this flawless. Mulligan's portrayal of Jenny, a brainy, 16 year old English schoolgirl who becomes smitten with David (Peter Sarsgaard), a debonair Jewish gentleman twice her age, is both alluring and precise.
Considering that this all takes place in London circa 1961, it's an unusual pairing but not impossible. The history of Catholic/Jewish relations is not something I'm particularly familiar with, but the audience found many of the cultural contrasts hilarious.
The film works on many levels, most striking to me was the believability of Mulligan as a starry eyed 16 year old and the captivating beauty of this adolescent teen as seen through the eyes of David. However, this is not a cliche film in which the girl becomes a woman. Like the title suggests, it's an education, albeit a hard lesson on love and what's important. It's also an excellent example of how people (not just young women) fall in love with an idea, a concept, a lifestyle... and lose themselves in the process.
An Education is well-made, smart and highly recommended- a must see film.