The film was set in 1961.An intelligent teenager girl in suburban Twickenham was waiting for bus in a downpouring day. A stranger, a soft spoken older man (Peter Sarsgaard), drove by and offered her a ride.
That ride took her home, but also brought her into a world of adult fun and fancy – weekend trip to Paris, classical concerts, smoky jazz clubs, auctions, dressing up glamorously with the help from stranger’s glamorous friend Helen (Rosamund Pike).
I had very little knowledge about the 60’s. When I told a friend that I was going to see An Education, he wasn’t terribly impressed by the sound of it.
“I suppose this is kind of films that you saw before. They are always very similar to each other.” He said.
I laughed. Maybe he was right. I like the coming out of age films. I can see them again and again. If the film is well directed with a strong cast, I would never get bored. What we know about the sixties – feminism, sex revolutions, hippies, Vietnam War. What about the beginning of that period in Britain?
An Education is not a slow film. It is incredibly smooth and upbeat. The plot isn’t complicated. There are a lot of smart dialogues throughout the film. Carey Mulligan played Jenny, a pretty, innocent but rather head strong girl. Carey interpreted so well Jenny’s naivety and intelligence. When she finally got to Paris, she put her hair up and wore a dress with floral prints; she was stunning just like Audrey Hepburn!
Peter Sarsgaard did not present a slimy lady killer. His gentleness, sleepy eyes, even the flirtatious cliche lines with Jenny’s mother seemed all so harmless, light-hearted and boyish lost. Emma Thompson is the best actress to play the imperious school-mistress.
Rosamund Pike perhaps was far too smart to play a beautiful dumb bimbo. Educated in Oxford, Rosamund has this depth in her beauty– pale, sophisticated, feminine, intelligent, witty, very British.
You sit there and wonder where Jenny is heading to and what she will turn out to be. It’s an education about life.
Without a doubt, this could be the best British film of the year 2009.
The film was based on Lynn Barber’s autobiographical essay in Granta Literary magazine. Screenplay by Nick Hornby. Directed by Lone Scherfig.
Trivial: In Lynn Barber’s early career, she was a journalist writing for Penthouse, she also published a book – How to Improve Men in Bed.
My friend did see the film himself. I was surprised to hear that how much he enjoyed the film.
I just finished reading ‘An Education’ the autobiography of Lynn Barber. A rather thin volume for an autobiography, but quite amusing and insightful about British journalism.