Friday, February 12, 2010

Review: An Education

Grade: B+

Jenny is a very smart young girl, about to turn 17, living in the suburbs of London in the early 1960s. Her parents have always had her life planned out. All her life they have pushed her to have the best education and have the proper extracurricular activities so that when she graduates from high school she can go to Oxford. She has found life to be tedious and boring until one day, she meets an older man, David, on her way home from school. David is a smooth talking, sophisticated and exciting man who begins to take Jenny to art auctions, night clubs, concerts and even to Paris at one point. Jenny becomes enamored with the kind of life David seems to be able to provide and her thoughts of Oxford begin to fade away. Then when the truth about David and that life style hit her, it makes her think about who she truly is and what she wants out of her own life.

This movie was recently nominated for Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards. I can see why it might be considered for that but in my opinion, I would not have nominated. I will say that An Education is a great movie and is worth watching. The writing was great and the movie looked beautiful. I really liked the story line and all of the characters were very well written and their portrayals were great. The first third of the movie is actually kind of funny at times and the drama throughout the rest of the movie is not over done. It is a beautiful movie and I can understand how it won the award for cinematography at Sundance. The movie also is essentially a great commentary on what it was like to be a woman in the early 1960s.

Carey Mulligan (Public Enemies, Pride and Prejudice) plays the lead role of Jenny, a very intelligent young girl living in the London suburbs. Mulligan did an amazing job in this movie and played her part to perfection, her nomination for Best Actress is well deserved. Peter Sarsgaard (Orphan, Jarhead) played David, a charming man who has the ability to talk a little too smoothly. Sarsgaard did a wonderful job with this role, his character and portrayal allowed you to believe him but yet not be entirely sure. Alfred Molina (The Da Vinci Code, Spider-Man 2) played Jenny's father, Jack. Molina gave such an amazing performance in this movie, I'm pretty surprised that he didn't get a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His performance was very gripping and he brings out emotion in the audience. The movie also features great performances by Olivia Williams, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike and Emma Thompson.

This movie is absolutely worth watching for a number of reasons: the acting, the story, the writing, the cinematography and the satire throughout. It is a great movie but I just don't think it's Best Picture good.

Great quote: "If you never do anything, you never become anyone."

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