While watching Lone Scherfig's extremely well made drama "An Education", you feel as if shes been making movies all her life. The Danish native is completely new to me. Never seen her movies before. But her latest one is an absolute breath taker. Filled with an array of very talented actors and a story which is absolutely tantalizing, "An Education" proves to be one of the year's best films.
The film was written Nick Hornby(famous for About a Boy and High Fidelity) the story follows 16 year old Jenny(Carey Mulligan). Shes a teenager and still is a virgin. Jenny meets 35 year old David(Peter Sarsgaard). The two forge a romantic relationship in the year 1961. A year when teenage girls were just as perplexed as they are now. Jenny's parents, Jack and Marjorie, are played by Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour. A middle class family which isn't too poor but not too rich. They fill their home with love and affection and wish the best for their girl. Then they meet David. The smooth and much more older gentleman who falls in love with Judy one day while standing there in the rain. As you watch this movie you soon realize that this is only the backdrop of the film. The story evolves and changes, much like its time, into one of the breakout hits of the year.
Carey Mulligan, already being compared to the likes of Audrey Hepburn, is an absolute joy to watch on screen. Her character, Jenny, loves her new found love and of course uses it to the best of her advantages. Fancy restaurants and cars are all throughout the film. Of course David is thinking of one things and shes thinking, "Why not?". She completely engrosses not only the screen but the audience and the rest of her cast. She outshines the likes of Alfred Molina and Dominic Cooper and grasps all of your attention away from your beeping cell phones and leaking popcorn buckets towards the screen and attracts you to her imminent beauty. Peter Scaarsgard is quite possibly one of our next great leading men. His character David, the much older lover, is an absolute joy to watch on screen. His character, like Jenny's, knows what he wants from this girl. I mean after all she is a virgin. But both of these leading stars take over their roles and make them their own.
While the film's supporting cast is an absolute joy to watch as they all mingle with one another. Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour are a joy as they play Mum and Dad. Their joys turn into fears as they meet their daughter's newly founded love; only their not so loving. Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike play two of David's friends which are just as calm, cool, and smooth as David is. They help to guide along the movie rather then just throwing in characters like a mixing pot. They serve a real purpose as you, the viewer, watches this story unfold. They present this sort of backdrop and charming addition to the life of Jenny. Ever so mad it is. Emma Thompson and Olivia Williams come along as two of Jenny's school's members. Both are teachers actually. Thompson, as brilliant as she usually is, turns in another entertaining performance which is a nice addition to her already expansive career. And Olivia Williams plays the teacher which makes Jenny wake up and realize just what the hells going on.
David as sly, charming, and secretive as he may be Jenny is no good little angel herself. She enjoys this lifestyle which David lives, he embodies, to her, all of her hopes and dreams. He's seen the things she wants to see and lived the life she wants to live. At school Jenny finds David to be an alternative to school and eventually finds her way through a professor(Olivia Williams) who states that David may not be all that interested in her qualities. David, though he looks and seems like he really loves her, might just be in love with the image and the ideal behind Jenny and not necessarily Jenny her self. The movie treads these waters while not being sappy and boring about it. The concepts and subject matter shown throughout the film is quite rocky in itself and might be a controversial one as well. I mean a movie about a 16 year old dating a 35 year old really isn't a comfortable one for most people.
It's style and mannerism is well a joy to see because while its based in the ever so changing 1960's, its before the whole peace and Beatles movement. Before London was the place to be throughout the ever so fun time changing ways of the world. "An Education" plays on those themes of uncertainty and gives us something which does more than just bore us down with tears and sniffles. It actually makes you think. While I would've liked to see more expensive traveling and what not, "An Education" is an absolute joy to watch. Its a completely entertaining and gloriously smart movie which manages to offer something to keep an eye out for this award season.