Monday, 12 July 2010

An Education (2009)

Synopsis: Middle class London suburbanite teenage girl makes some mistakes and almost messes up her future. Ends up as Lynn Barber.

I had avoided watching this film after all the attention that it got, and I thought that it looked a bit too smug for its own good. I got over that and have finally seen on DVD. It's not bad. Not bad at all.

The story rattles along at a nice nifty pace and Carey Mulligan is really natural as the lead character Jenny. So, in fairness she probably has deserved all the accolades currently being chucked her way.

All the supporting players do their bit, with Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper and the dishy Peter Sarsgaard creating a world of '60s indulgence and dodgy morals. Basically, whilst well on her way to Oxford, Jenny falls in with the 'wrong lot' and almost gives away her future by dumping Oxford and marrying a philandering thief. However, we see how more grown up than she is than those around her (Mum, Dad, boyfriend etc.) and she attempts to pull back from the brink and rescue her future. Her female teachers being the only moral centre for her to properly rely on, she realises the error of her ways and pleads for their help.

I'm still a bit confused about the message of the film. Jenny is drawn as very likeable and intelligent but also naive, although not the usual naivety of other, more obvious films and lead actresses. Carey Mulligan's performance as Jenny portrays a girl with a huge sense of self confidence, even in her own mistakes. We don't ever really see her 'suffering' for her idiocy; she just picks herself up, gets help and charges ahead with her original plans. The self-assuredness is frightening indeed.

The '60s dresses etc. are lovely to look at (as is Peter Sarsgaard. Did I say that already?) and the scenes at Walthamstow Stadium were particularly fondly watched (I'm from E17). Nicely done.

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