Thursday, March 4, 2010

Oscars on the way: "An Education"

Nominated for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Published

“An Education” is an airy and smart, if slightly moralistic, coming-of-age drama about a quick-witted schoolgirl and her relationship with an older man, set in the 1960s suburban London. 16-year-old Jenny (Carey Mulligan) has great marks, plays a cello and is fascinated by everything French. Lazily hopping through her last year at school, she can’t wait to move to Oxford University where she can finally be free. But a chance encounter with David – a 30-something sweet-talking man brings a change to her plans.

A real “charmer,” David managed to whisk Jenny away to a weekend in Oxford and a trip to Paris by feeding plausible lies to her loving but grounded dad (Alfred Molina). The couple spends evenings at theaters and restaurants often with David’s best friend and his posh but dumb blonde girlfriend (Rosamunde Pike). As Jenny gets carried away with those new experiences, she begins to despise her strict school that frowns upon such frivolous lifestyle.

From an enchantingly playful opening sequence to a life-affirming finale, “An Education,” based on Nick Hronby's celebrated novel, balances witty dialogue, great acting on every part and attractive visuals. Jenny is charming and cute, but she’s no lolita and there is nothing even faintly vulgar about her subtle sexuality. However, what really sets the movie apart from most stories about young girls learning love and life from older men is that little Jenny, with her intelligence, ambitions and thirst for knowledge, stands high above her boyfriend and his flashy friends.

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