An Education explores one girl’s transition into womanhood as she learns how much the world has to offer beyond the confines of her small English town. Lone Scherfig paints a portrait of a young lady and her singular grasp of language and culture, a gift that allows her to dream of a great and far away future at the esteemed Oxford University. In a single moment she is swept away by the glory and prestige of an older crowd that will inevitably change the course of her life. This coming of age story challenges the notion of freedom and truth as one girl learns the difference between security and compromise as she attempts to navigate the unregulated chaos of the real world.
Sixteen-year-old Jenny, played by Carey Mulligan, imagines a life of sophistication and glamour. Prayers that are dutifully answered by an older man who lives solely to travel the world and experience the life she craves. A first meeting between the girl and the worldly David (Peter Sarsgard) creates a stir that causes a much-needed disruption in her otherwise monotonous life. David uses his wisdom to engage both Jenny and entice her once strict parents to allow frivolous outings to clubs and foreign countries without so much as a moments hesitation.
As the relationship progresses Jenny begins to find out that the seemingly perfect man before her holds a secret that will inevitably force her to question her morals and her upbringing to see if what she wants is really worth risking the twilight years of adolescence. Through Jenny’s adventure the audience is simultaneously hopeful and heartbroken for a girl so eager to absorb the essence of this glorious crowd. Every ounce of her existence is centered on her future at the university – the possibility of boys and the delight of French music – until the romance pushes this girl into premature womanhood and into a life cluttered full of cigarettes and art.
Much of the premise pertains to Jenny and her relationship with a “glamorous older man,” and yet the difference in age is almost daunting. Despite full knowledge of Jenny’s tender age, David never once discloses enough information for the audience to gage the full extent of the age gap. Assuming David is a twenty-something, he more readily appears to be closer in age to Jenny’s father, which fails to cause concern. As an audience we are acutely aware of the absurdity of a man taking advantage of a child, yet the parents specifically allow this bond to take place with little regard to Jenny’s well-being. Only in the eyes of the ever-so biting head mistress is Jenny viewed as the child she truly is.
Regardless, An Education is truly a brilliant work that portrays not only complete and challenging characters, but also brings us into the beauty of 1960’s Europe. Carey Mulligan shines as Jenny and embraces poise reminiscent of the great Audrey Hepburn. Carey attacks the character with a sort of fervor that allows for the discreet subtleties of a girl slowly turning the corner towards sexual awakening. Peter Sarsgaard in turn radically welcomes David and despite displaying some rather despicable behavior, manages to retain a semblance of audience sympathy for this very confused man. An Education challenges the idea of happiness and those of success. Through the context of the film, we are once again faced with the question of whether or not true happiness can exist when we throw caution to the wind and give into the ever-enticing dream?
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Olivia Williams, Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike
Director: Lone Scherfig
Runtime: 95 Minutes
Distributor: Song Pictures Classic
Danielle Panabaker's Top Pop Picks
"I'm really into the Avett Brothers as of late."
"My girlfriends are I - we are very nerdy. We started a book club and the first book we read was Gone Girl."
"I thought it was a great film and I thought Jennifer Lawrence was incredible, you know those angry tears, I've certainly experienced that."
Most Popular Videos
- Jane Lynch And Craig Robinson Video Interview On 'Escape From Planet Earth'
- Adrien Brody Video Interview On Judging The Bombay Sapphire Imagination Film Series, Playing Houdini
- George Lopez Video Interview On 'Escape From Planet Earth'
- Thandie Newton Video Interview On 'Rogue,' Learning To Shoot A Gun
- Kevin Smith Video Interview On His New Book, 'Tough Sh*t,' Mitt Romeny, Bruce Willis
Top Comedy Videos
Sex & Sci-Fi: Summer's Hottest Movies & Men - Your Tango
- Celebrity Sex Talk: 6 Craziest Things Heard This Week - Your Tango
- ‘Spring Breakers’ Review: The 10 Most Depraved, Parent-Shocking Moments - MovieFone
- 10 Hot Hollywood Husbands Changing The World - Your Tango
- Taylor Swift Cozying Up With Harry Styles - PlanetFashionTV