Tuesday, 23 March 2010

[318] An Education (2009) DVD Review

It happens every few dozen articles or so. I freeze up and can't work through the piece. I'm not so happy with the way this review turned out, as it was such a slog, but I think I made my points clear. An Education is a lovely film, and is highly recommended.

I watched the film with my good old chum Nishani Nijjar, the comedy lawyer - not that she is a farcical student of the courts, more that she combines sharp work suits, a respectable career, and an eye for mirth. Watch out for her. You can read her travel writing over at www.liamandnish.co.uk, where she chronicled a three month-long trip to Madagascar with our mutual friend Liam James - who, I must add, is not a lawyer but a man of many rare talents.

Back on topic. An Education, then...

An Education, director Lone Scherfig's film about coming of age in 1960s suburban London, may not have taken home many statuettes over the awards season, but that is more of a comment on the bias and tastes of academy voters than the quality of the piece, as it is sweet, engrossing and a little bit subversive.

BAFTA winner Carey Mulligan stars as Jenny, a 16-year-old girl of a certain intelligence that towers over her peers and parents, yet is still bound by the niceties of domestic life and the hoop-jumping of school. (Ah, to be a teenager.) She has Oxford in her sights, as does her overbearing father, who, in an early scene, states that the university would be impressed by her orchestra attendance, as she would seem to be a 'joiner-inner'.

Jenny, however, stands apart. She is youthful in expression, but has a grit to her voice that belies a certain edge. She peppers her speech with French phrases and aces English essays. Her school friends are ineffectual saps and giggling girls. Her parents and teachers are stuffy old sellouts.

So, it is no surprise that the world conjures up David (Peter Sarsgaard), a cultured, rich man that comes into her life, indulges her whims and grants her escape from tedium and uncertainty. He introduces her to jazz and cocktails, and takes her to classical concerts, art auctions and, eventually, Paris. As her grades slip and enthusiasm for the academic slog fades, Jenny becomes entranced by the possibility of a life with this mysterious man.

Read the full article here.

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