In the early 1960's, sixteen year old Jenny Mellor lives with her parents in the London suburb of Twickenham. On her father's wishes, everything that Jenny does is in the sole pursuit of being accepted into Oxford, as he wants her to have a better life than he. Jenny is bright, pretty, hard working but also naturally gifted. The only problems her father may perceive in her life is her issue with learning Latin, and her dating a boy named Graham, who is nice but socially awkward. Jenny's life changes after she meets David Goldman, a man over twice her age. David goes out of his way to show Jenny and her family that his interest in her is not improper and that he wants solely to expose her to cultural activities which she enjoys. Jenny quickly gets accustomed to the life to which David and his constant companions, Danny and Helen, have shown her, and Jenny and David's relationship does move into becoming a romantic one. However, Jenny slowly learns more about David, and by association ... Written by
At the end, when Jenny is admitted into Oxford, she receives a letter from the University ("faculty of arts"). In fact, students are admitted into a specific college, and her admission letter would have come from the college, not the university. See more »
Hype bandwagon, thy name is An Education. One of the most overrated movies of last five years with a ludicrous 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and only eleven brave critics willing to point out that the emperor has no clothes, An Education is a made-for-TV melodrama dressed up with some outdoor location shooting in London and Paris, a few minor movie stars, and an admittedly good leading performance. It's nowhere near as bad as 2008's The Reader, one of the worst films in my lifetime to be nominated for Best Picture, but at least with that one you could see the Academy going glassy-eyed and groaning "Holocaust... masterpiece..." in the same tone with which a zombie goes "braaaaiinnns...", while An Education is just glossy mediocrity, like being served fancily prepared tofu. You can acknowledge the effort, but you're still eating tofu.
Let me see if I can find enough plot to even talk about: Carey Mulligan plays Jenny, a bright 16-year-old schoolgirl in 1961 England who dreams of attending Oxford. She's seduced by a 35-year-old playboy played by Peter Sarsgaard who introduces her to art, films, jazz, nightclubs, and Paris. Jenny, enchanted by all this culture, has to decide whether to stay true to her dreams of Oxford or get married and live life for love and art. And that's damn near it. I've left out of the final fifteen minutes or so out of respect for the spoiler code, but that's a tragically complete synopsis up to that point. We spend untold stretches of time watching Jenny make lovey-dovey eyes at Sarsgaard or being awed by all the culture, and holy yawn. There's a few other characters but they've fled my memory so quickly I'm half-convinced I was zapped by that Men in Black red-light device immediately after watching.
The film contains possibly the most boring virginity loss subplot in the history of on screen teen characters losing their virginities, only saved from the precipice of completely forgettability one of the most awkward and bizarre movie scenes of 2009 in which Peter Sarsgaard gives Jenny a banana and tells her to loosen herself up with it before they have sex for the film time. This is not played for laughs. It just happens. It was so inane I was half- convinced I was having a fever dream, but looking back on it, no, even my darkest subconscious couldn't come up with a scene like that. No one could come up with a scene like that, except, evidently, screenwriter Nick Hornby.
Whatever else the film does wrong (everything), Carey Mulligan is quite charming and charismatic in the lead role and managed to keep me awake through stretches that would have been cinematic warm milk with pretty much any other British actress I can think of young enough to play a teenager. She has a bright career ahead of her. But nonetheless, don't see An Education. If I could talk to any critic championing this film I would love to ask which scene exactly they think will linger in memory (either collective cultural memory or their own) by 2012, because every second of this film is leaking out of my mind like water through wicker.
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