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An Education

4.5 19
Director: Lone Scherfig

Cast: Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina


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A suburban London teen finds her traditional education replaced by something slightly more sinister when an older, more worldly suitor sweeps her off of her feet while placing her future in jeopardy. London, 1961: 16-year-old Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is smart, attractive, and eager to start her adult life. She's grown tired of the


A suburban London teen finds her traditional education replaced by something slightly more sinister when an older, more worldly suitor sweeps her off of her feet while placing her future in jeopardy. London, 1961: 16-year-old Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is smart, attractive, and eager to start her adult life. She's grown tired of the familiar adolescent routine, so when urbane newcomer David (Peter Sarsgaard) appears in town, Jenny senses a rare opportunity to shake things up a bit. Quickly falling under David's spell, the impressionable Jenny begins accompanying her newfound beau to classical concerts, art auctions, crowded pubs, and dinners that stretch into the small hours of the night. But Jenny is brighter than most kids her age, and her parents always dreamt of getting their exceptional daughter into Oxford. These days it seems like she's headed in a different direction -- will David ultimately be her undoing, or the person who helps her finally realize her true potential?

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Coming-of-age films usually center on young men losing their virginity, and finding out the world is a rough and difficult place that forces them to discover who they really are in order to make their place in it. An Education is an excellent coming-of-age tale, and by having a young woman at its center it stands out from this heavily populated genre. It's London in 1961, and intelligent, attractive, ambitious, 16-year-old Jenny (Carey Mulligan) studies hard hoping to earn a scholarship to Oxford. Pushed by her penny-pinching father, Jack (Alfred Molina), Jenny studies her Latin, but she's so eager to escape her current circumstances that she needs very little prodding. However, when she meets David (Peter Sarsgaard), a charming, sophisticated, Jewish thirtysomething, his worldliness attracts her. Soon she lets her studies slide, and goes on weekend trips with her new guy, his friend Danny (Dominic Cooper), and Danny's dim girlfriend, Helen (Rosamund Pike). As Jenny learns the shady ways in which David maintains the income that allows him to lead such a free-wheeling life, his justifications and rationalizations simply draw her deeper into him. Soon Jenny must decide between the future she planned, and the man she loves. Working from a superb script by novelist Nick Hornby, director Lone Scherfig does a flawless job of putting us in pre-Beatles Britain, using costumes, music, and art direction to transport us to a time and a place where it's apparent that seismic social changes are just around the corner. She accomplishes this subtly, without ever taking our attention away from her superior cast, headed by Carey Mulligan. Although she's in her twenties, Mulligan is a more than passable teenager, especially one who is almost too smart for her own good. Jenny's sense of superiority -- her insistence that she knows everything -- could make her alienating, but Mulligan makes Jenny such a unique presence that you fall in love with her. Hornby gives Jenny such articulate and well-reasoned dialogue that you understand why she's making such horrible, life-altering choices; she's so persuasive you might not even believe they are bad choices. Mulligan communicates Jenny's self-assuredness and her excitement at discovering a world so much richer than her day-to-day existence with such realism that our fear for her becomes palpable. As much as Mulligan dominates the movie, she's hardly the only actor who shines. Molina takes a role that could easily be a stereotype -- the overbearing dad -- and makes him specific enough to be a sympathetic individual rather than a cliché. Sarsgaard brings a natural likability, as well as his gift for unconventional line readings, to David, seducing us as well as Jenny even while warning sirens sound in our heads. As Helen, Rosamund Pike acts as Jenny's polar opposite -- a dumb girl surviving on nothing more than her looks and surface charm -- and if the saying is true that playing dumb requires great smarts, then Pike is one of the most intelligent actresses out there. And last, but far from least, Olivia Williams never hits a wrong note as Miss Stubbs, a sympathetic teacher. She's the only character who can simultaneously see how much Jenny stands to lose, and understand that her heartfelt attempts to get through to the stubborn teen are agonizing exercises in futility. It's Williams who delivers the most heart-breaking performance in the whole movie. With a cast this uniformly strong, and a script so elegantly appealing, it's little wonder that An Education elicits such a warm feeling. It's full of people we like, and people we recognize -- people we want to see succeed, and people who surprise us even after we think we understand everything about them. It's a movie full of life.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Deleted Scenes; Commentary with Director Lone Scherfig and Actor Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard; The Making of An Education; Walking the Red Carpet

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Peter Sarsgaard David
Carey Mulligan Jenny
Alfred Molina Jack
Rosamund Pike Helen
Dominic Cooper Danny
Emma Thompson Headmistress
Olivia Williams Miss Stubbs
Sally Hawkins Sarah
Cara Seymour Marjorie
Matthew Beard Graham
William Melling Small Boy
Connor Catchpole Small Boy
Amanda Fairbank-Hynes Hattie
Ellie Kendrick Tina
Nick Sampson Auctioneer
Kate Duchene Latin Teacher
Bel Parker Small Girl
Luis Soto Rachman
Olenka Wrzesniewski Shakespeare Girl
Bryony Wadsworth Shakespeare Girl
Ashley Taylor-Rhys Petrol Attendant
James Norton Student
Beth Rowley Nightclub Singer
Ben Castle Nightclub Band Member
Mark Edwards Nightclub Band Member
Tom Rees-Roberts Nightclub Band Member
Arnie Somogyi Nightclub Band Member
Paul Wilkinson Nightclub Band Member
Phil Wilkinson Nightclub Band Member

Technical Credits
Lone Scherfig Director
Lucy Bevan Casting
John DeBorman Cinematographer
Odile Dicks-Mireaux Costumes/Costume Designer
Finola Dwyer Producer
Paul Englishby Score Composer
Glenn Freemantle Sound/Sound Designer
Joe Geary Asst. Director
Lizzie Yianni Georgiou Makeup
Douglas E. Hansen Executive Producer
Nick Hornby Executive Producer,Screenwriter
Wendy Japhet Executive Producer
Jamie Laurenson Executive Producer
Andrew McAlpine Production Designer
Barney Pilling Editor
Amanda Posey Producer
Kle Savidge Musical Direction/Supervision
James D. Stern Executive Producer
David M. Thompson Executive Producer


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An Education 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mishawaka-bookie More than 1 year ago
At the start, this movie acts like a charming ticket back to the nineteen sixties, a gentler, less inhibited time. But that's a ruse. This sharply packaged ball of eduction and sex, teaches viewers just how vital real education is for women. The entire cast sparkles like a well heeled Chanel. Lucky viewers. And newcomer Carey Mulligaan who garnered a well deserver Oscar nod, especially turns in a tour de force performance, few veterans could match. The cinematography has a starring role making London and it's outskirts beg for a trip across the pond. If you too want to be educated with a gem, by all means pick up "An Education". Smartly done---I promise you.
IT More than 1 year ago
I see why this movie won the 2009 Sundance Festival Audience Award and 3 Best Picture Academy Award Nominations. "An Education" is probably one of the best films I have seen. It excels in the performances given by the cast. Carey Mulligan brings so much youthful freshness to her role as Jenny, a young girl faced with choosing love over a very promising future by gaining entrance to Oxford University. Peter Sarsgaard plays her beau David who has many multi-layers in character. They are both so superb. Al Molina (Jenny's father) and Emma Thompson (headmistress in Jenny's School) are such a treat. The musical score adds so much to this film set in the 1960's in Britain. I wholeheartedly recommend this film. It's got such a depth in plot and has quite a twist ending. This film is a real conversation piece. A film to watch over and over again - it just keeps unfolding more and more secrets as you view it. Truly "An Education".
AC79 More than 1 year ago
Just watched this movie last night and it's very good, I can see why it was nominated. Critics would adore the cinematography of the movie as well as the incredible performances, especially of newcomer, Carey Mulligan as Jenny. As an ordinary person, it provided ample entertainment. The plot was good, characters well portrayed, scenery delightful enough. I was somewhat disappointed that there was no closer to the relationship though, except what was shown. It serves as a coming of age story. I'd recommend renting, not buying.
cmmm More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most inspiring movies I've watched in a long time. It's definitely got a strong feminist message, but not in a preachy, in your face, sort of way. Carey Mulligan's performance was outstanding. I can't believe she is so young. Peter Sarsgaard also gave a great performance as the older man she "falls in love with." Something about him just makes you so uncomfortable, which makes sense given his character. I really wish I had watched this movie when I was a nerdy teenager and thinking about how guys were so important. Good script, good acting, overall great movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I totally loved this movie! Carey Mulligan is the cutest up and coming actress of her generation. She was wonderful in Pride and Predjudice and Bleak House but her performance in this film is her breakthrough. Her character learns some of life's lessons the hard way and hopefully has some influence on our current high school girls.
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