Thursday, February 11, 2010

An Education

Originally uploaded by Alessandra Ogeda
Jenny is a young woman in post-war England doing what a proper young lady should do: going to school and working hard to get into university. The only problem is it’s her parent’s plan and not hers. So when dashing a dashing older gentleman takes an interest in Jenny she is swept off her feet into a world of fantasy and fun. The only problem is that Jenny’s parents too get caught up in the idea of her older fellow and abandon their plans for Jenny with a new plan – allowing her to drop university and get married.

There is nothing alarmingly original about An Education and yet even without a best picture nomination I would have still walked out of this film with the same feeling – that this is one of the best done movies of 2009. Every single thing about this film was perfectly crafted and enjoyable to watch, even once the inevitable conclusion dropped into the mix.

Perhaps what makes this movie stand out as far as it does is the cast. No matter what any person critical of actors may tell you, having a cast that delivers great performances is absolutely critical to the end result of your film; you can have a fantasticly written, directed and shot film but if your actors and their performances are off then none of the rest matters. In An Education director Lone Sherfig has cast the right actors, gotten them to give moving performances and managed to infuse each character with a unique quality that allows the viewer to feel empathy for each one of them, no matter how despicable, aggravating or sad they may become in the course of the tale.

Carey Mulligan is also a joy to watch as Jenny. The actress is young but she is strong and the intense naivety and vulnerability she is able to infuse into Jenny makes the entire film worth watching. I will look for Mulligan in more roles.

I don’t think that An Education will win the best picture Oscar this year, but I am very glad it was nominated.

Director: Lone Scherfig
Writer: Nick Hornby
Jenny: Carey Mulligan
Miss Stubbs: Olivia Williams
Jack: Alfred Molina
David: Peter Sarsgaard
Danny: Dominic Cooper
Helen: Rosamund Pike

Miss Stubbs: You seem to be old and wise.
Jenny: I feel old. But not very wise.

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