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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Carey Mulligan
Peter Sarsgaard
Alfred Molina
Dominic Cooper
Rosamund Pike
Emma Thompson.
Directors
Lone Scherfig.
Screenwriters
Nick Hornby.
Running Time
100 minutes

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An Education
Young teacher, the subject — of schoolgirl fantasy...


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Plot
Jenny (Mulligan) is attractive, doing well at school and set to land a place at Oxford. Then she meets David (Sarsgaard), an older man. He dazzles her with the edgy world beyond her ’60s suburban life, and soon a very different destiny opens up before her...


Review
An Education
An Education is one of those movies that bubbles with an easy charm, gently engaging as its story neatly unfurls, taking you to a satisfying climax without feeling the need for detours, and where there are revelations, but nothing so dramatic as a ‘twist’. Of course, you’d be reptilian if you didn’t feel a sense of unease when, say, Peter Sarsgaard’s creepy David finally gets teenager Jenny (Carey Mulligan) into his bedroom and sheepishly asks to see her breasts. But it’s to screenwriter Nick Hornby’s credit that said scene doesn’t then deteriorate into an attempted rape, and that Danish director Lone Scherfig never feels the need to slam on the drama for the sake of hammering home any moral points.

Yet the film’s breeziness leaves it feeling somewhat slight, even if it is adapted from journalist Lynn Barber’s memoir. You’ll exit thinking, “Well, wasn’t that nice?” and An Education should hardly ever bother your memory again... Although, not quite. In a picture blessed with strong performances (Alfred Molina’s authoritative-but-naive dad; Rosamund Pike, who here makes sense of the oxymoron ‘brightly dim’), there’s one that sings out, note-perfect. And that’s Mulligan’s. This is one of those debut leads that wakes up the movie producer in your head, has him splurting out his cigar and barking, “This kid’s gonna be a STAR!”

Scherfig is adept at drawing A-list performances out of unknowns (just go back to Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself and see what she did with Jamie Sives), but Mulligan deserves the credit. Every tiny shift in expression carries the film. There’s barely a scene without her, which is just as well, as you get the sense it would start to crumble like old plaster if she spent too long off-screen. The precocious ingénue is hardly an original concept, but Mulligan makes it feel as unmanufactured as sunlight, deeply convincing as a young woman who is intellectually a step ahead of the rest, but experientially two steps behind.

Of course, it could all go Emily Lloyd for Mulligan, but the extent to which she lifts an otherwise mildly remarkable movie suggests we’ll be seeing much more of her. Indeed, she’s already been cast alongside Keira Knightley in next year’s Never Let Me Go. So the prognosis is, thankfully, good.


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


Reviewed by Dan Jolin

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for An Education
Empire Star Rating

RE: Brilliant Cinema

Filled with great performances and an engaging plot, ationts job to entertain. The i] montage that kicks off the third act may make you groan, but the film itself is definitely worth watching. ... More

Posted by max314 at 19:22, 05 May 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Brilliant Cinema

A charming movie with a great central performance from Carey Mulligan.  Although this feels alittle thin at times...it is saved the by the excellent performances.  I loved the way the filmmakers recreated 60's London and the set designs + costumes were gorgeous. ... More

Posted by princessa at 19:30, 06 April 2010 | Report This Post


Brilliant Cinema

An Education is a simply... delightful peace of cinema, with splendid subtle touches, music, costume design and sets, which contribute towards the outstanding performances in acting, yes, Carey Mulligan was incredible it's not just hype, but other roles were very great too, and of course the plot, which was helped by nothing short of a fantastic script but the wonderful Nick Hornby. It was a short and sweet this film, it had a lot to say about private school girls today in London too, it was ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by pkand at 22:26, 27 March 2010 | Report This Post


Brilliant Cinema

An Education is a simply... delightful peace of cinema, with splendid subtle touches, music, costume design and sets, which contribute towards the outstanding performances in acting, yes, Carey Mulligan was incredible it's not just hype, but other roles were very great too, and of course the plot, which was helped by nothing short of a fantastic script but the wonderful Nick Hornby. It was a short and sweet this film, it had a lot to say about private school girls today in London too, it was ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by pkand at 22:25, 27 March 2010 | Report This Post


Brilliant Cinema

An Education is a simply... delightful peace of cinema, with splendid subtle touches, music, costume design and sets, which contribute towards the outstanding performances in acting, yes, Carey Mulligan was incredible it's not just hype, but other roles were very great too, and of course the plot, which was helped by nothing short of a fantastic script but the wonderful Nick Hornby. It was a short and sweet this film, it had a lot to say about private school girls today in London too, it was ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by pkand at 22:24, 27 March 2010 | Report This Post


RE: An Education

Although Mulligan's received critical acclaim for this film, the storyline left me feeling rather flat. There were some glorious acting moments - one most notably between Mulligan and Emma Thompson with the valid debate (if that's what you can call a one-sided rant at female future in society), which I thought raised previous unmentionables. Yet overall it felt patchy and only Mulligan's few acting points and Saarsgard's fairly creepy older man of the times could raise the movie to st... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jessica_ca_ca_ca at 09:21, 22 March 2010 | Report This Post


RE: An Education

I was very underwhelmed by the film, and by Mulligan. She's fine but the film didn't give her much opportunity to do any real acting. In a stronger year for female lead roles I don't think she'd be getting the props she has been. The usually excellent Sarsgaard was thoroughly unconvincing and only Alfred Molina stood out, injecting his rather thankless role with relish and giving the film it's only lively moments. ... More

Posted by josh_bonito at 13:16, 04 March 2010 | Report This Post


RE:

Mulligan is outstanding in fact the entire cast is excellent in particular Olivia Williams as the teacher. The look and feel of 60s Britain seems very well recreated but mostly it's all about Mulligan. ... More

Posted by Schadenfreude at 23:39, 03 March 2010 | Report This Post


tp://www.imdb.com/title/tt1174732/]An Educationenny (Carey Mulligan) is a typical English school going girl. Always learning,getting good grades (more than anything because of a pushy father) and nothing seems to stand in her way to go to Oxford. Until one day she meets, waiting in the pouring rain, David (Peter Sarsgaard). The shy Jenny falls head over heels for him and he turns her life upside down. The story being told here is one we`ve seen more often before. But nevertheless, An Educatio... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 22:18, 03 March 2010 | Report This Post


A fine movie. Mulligan is superb. Really, an outstanding performance. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 01:52, 16 February 2010 | Report This Post


RE:

Only 2 days left to vote for Carey Mulligan as BAFTA's Rising Star! After her breakthrough performance in acclaimed drama 'An Education' Carey Mulligan is making waves just about everywhere, not least at the 2010 BAFTA Awards. Carey Has been nominated for the rising star award (alongside an Oscar nomination!) and with only 6 days left, we're urging all Carey fans to Head over to bafta.orange.co.uk/nominees/show/3te! Voting closes at 12pm, Wednesday 17th February, 2010 and An Educ... More

Posted by CareyBafta at 08:08, 15 February 2010 | Report This Post


This film is one of those of which you want to give five star because it is enjoyable from start to finish but you feel that despite this it doesn't really strke a chord. Fuck it i'm giving it 5. Great film Mulligan is sublime ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Blue Ryan at 19:49, 02 February 2010 | Report This Post


Good ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by becketteve at 08:57, 23 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: An Education

Director: Lone Scherfig Screenwriter: Nick Hornby Starring: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Emma Thompson, Olivia Williams, Sally Hawkins Synopsis During the early 60s, Jenny (Mulligan) is hoping to get a good education to get into Oxford, but her life takes a sudden turn when she encounters a Jewish playboy (Sarsgaard) and his wild friends. Review I must confess that even though it is the near-end of the year, I haven't seen any ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 20:29, 04 November 2009 | Report This Post


An Education

An Education is a beautifully done coming of age story with a great script by Nick Hornby that captures the times beautifully. The film offers excellent performances from Sarsgaard, Molina, Cooper and pike. Although the real star is Carey Mulligan. An Education despite some creepy overtones is an amusing and well written/acted film that offers something for everyone. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Soprano168 at 17:52, 01 November 2009 | Report This Post


An Education

Mulligan and Sarsgaard are fun in their roles: The twenty-four-year old Mulligan inhabits a teenage girl's enthusiasm with glee, while Sarsgaard plays the cradle-snatching seediness and the complete gentleman. . Molina, Pike, Cooper and Seymour turn in decent performances, too. The set and costume design aren't too shabby either. But a film is more than just performance and set designs. An Education is interesting to a point, but it's tough to figure out why this story in particular had to ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 17:14, 31 October 2009 | Report This Post


RE: An Education

Mulligan showed her acting chops in Dr who of all places. She was superb as Sally Sparrow. Should have been the new companion imho. ... More

Posted by hughjass at 13:01, 27 October 2009 | Report This Post


RE: An Education

For all you guys who love An Education, these costumes from the movie were on display at my local (and favourite) cinema here in Hollywood: amming your blog. Nobody cares.njoy! ... More

Posted by jasoninhollywood at 01:56, 13 October 2009 | Report This Post


simply ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jules_l_jackson at 21:17, 05 October 2009 | Report This Post


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