Rather charming, nicely shot cautionary tale that has too many clichés, has too little to say about most of its characters, and falters big-time in the third act. The totally misjudged, tacked-on narration at the end sums up its problems quite well. At its center, though, is a truly revelatory performance by Mulligan, who elevates the film hugely and more than deserved her Oscar nom; in fact, despite the borderline mediocrity of the film, I think I would've been perfectly fine with her winning.
"An Education" is a light drama that goes exactly where you know it will go. Carey Mulligan, well deserving of her Oscar nomination, scores huge with her role, and everything else is adequate. The movies depicts its era well, but "An Education" doesn't feel like a Best Picture nominee. It's another coming-of-age tale, and it's fine and all, but it's not as great as it has been hailed outside of Mulligan's performance.
A growing-into-womanhood tale directed with a distinctly European sensibility by Norwegian Scherfig, in which sex with an older man is only part of a full cultural "education." Carey Mulligan should rise to stardom on the basis of this film alone, and Skarsgaard and Molina are both excellent.
Yeah, I guess this is a pretty good coming-of-age story. Mulligan and Molina carry it, that's for sure. I suppose the first hour was something I really enjoyed, but as it neared the ending it felt more and more like an after school special chock full of cliche and all that sort of tripe.
Beginning as a simple coming-of-age comedy, film unexpectedly becomes a mature, perceptive meditation on the pros and cons of higher education, the role of women in 60s Britain, and a tasteful exploration of the February-June relationship between Mulligan and reliably wonderful Sarsgaard. Molina is excellent as Mulligan's naive father, Williams terrific as a repressed teacher, Thompson wonderful in cameo as stern headmistress. Far more complex than the first half hour would have you believe.
Two things here make it shine. One is the way early 60s England is presented, drab, grey and stiff-upper-lip, the perceived lack of any proper alternatives for young Jenny; she's bright, she's told she needs to go to Oxford... but what for? The other is Carey Mulligan, who's perfect in the lead role, constantly playing Jenny as just a little too big for her shoes and trying to fit into ones that are too big for her, with both all the naivite, initiative and justification the role needs.
Quite enjoyable. Well-rounded characters, a smart, witty script, some social commentary without ever rubbing your nose in it, and an intruiging situation. Nice performances all around too... Molina and Sarsgaard are always good, and young Carey Mulligan in the lead is bright and charming (though perhaps a bit too much so for a teenager). The ending wraps things a little too neatly, but I didn't mind that so much.