An Education (PG-13) - 2009 - Runtime: 95 minutes
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Emma Thompson
Director: Lone Scherfig
Another Oscar Best Picture nominee, I was eager to watch this one as soon as I saw this come in. And the wait was worth it - this is a very genuine and thoroughly captivating story of growing up. And it takes place in the 60s, possibly my favorite time period in history. It's definitely worthy of all the accolades and I can see why it was nominated for Best Picture.
Carey Mulligan plays Jenny, an eager and intelligent student who's ambition is to read English at Oxford. By chance she keeps running into David, a charming, older man played by Peter Sarsgaard. As their relationship deepens, Jenny has to choose the free-wheelin' lifestyle that David represents or seek out what she considers to be the death of her life at Oxford. I won't say this is the most original tale - it's a very straightforward coming-of-age story where Jenny gets an education, a real-life education that can't be taught in her boarding school. And although the story may be typical, the performances and the setting are what stand out in this picture.
Carey Mulligan most definitely deserves her nomination. She's never had any formal training as an actress and held her own against such wonderful actors like Molina and Emma Thompson. At times it's amazing how she can go from wide-eyed student to a woman who seems like she knows it all. But really, Jenny doesn't even know what she's getting into and you know that her relationship with David is wrong and not just because of his age. David has a lot of secrets that are revealed very craftily and handled exquisitely throughout the movie. He's so charming - Peter Sarsgaard was quite brilliant here - that he even has time to seduce Jenny's parents. They're practically in love with him just as much as Jenny and they fall under his spell.
I really enjoyed this movie, it felt like only thirty minutes had passed by, so kudos to the pacing. It's a great story and definitely worthy of a rental to check out the performances. It comes next Tuesday so rent it!
Rating: Rent It!