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Watch It: {An Education}

Written by Nick Hornby, and based on an autobiographical essay by the British journalist Lynn Barber (about her schoolgirl affair with conman Simon Prewalski), it is now clear to me why this movie received so much attention at the award shows and even winning two at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival (World Cinema Audience Award: Dramatic and World Cinema Cinematography Award: Dramatic). With a fantastic cast including the likes of Carey Mulligan as Jenny Mellor, Peter Sarsgaard, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Emma Thompson, Olivia Williams and Alfred Molina, as well as a satirical and witty script, it’s no wonder this movie was so enjoyable to watch.

It certainly isn’t your average coming of age tale involving teenage angst. Well firstly, it’s set in 1960s Middlesex, England. The main character, Jenny, has a strict, stubborn father who seems only to want his only daughter to get the best possible exam results and be shipped off to Oxford. Besotted with anything French from the language and music to lifestyle, food and clothing, Jenny is like a high pressure cooker, ready to explode with all her frustration and squelched desires. The funny thing is, she wasn’t looking for a man to acheive anything. David, the mysterious older man, approaches her one rainy day in his sleek, fancy car with a hint of sleaze.. or is it class? and offers her a ride, insisting that his concern is for her cello as he’s a music lover. My initial reaction was to be disgusted at his advances due to the age difference but this movie makes you question your preconceived ideas and we get sucked in along with little Jenny. When she asked if he went to university he responds, “I went to the university of life. I didn’t get a very good degree.” He seems to be the only one who encourages her love of classical music and all things French.
The rest you will have to see for yourself as I don’t want to spoil it. I am a sucker for great cinematography and this movie has it. I loved her teacher Miss Stubbs and headmistress, played by Emma Thompson.

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

Carey Mulligan was truly amazing in this role! And others agreed beacuse she won numerous Best Actress Awards. She kept my attention and really encapsulates the character’s youth and naivety combined with courage and yearning for something more than what has been laid out for her. Going from stubborn to subservient and shy, the character is clearly 16. Pining for Paris, for escape, for glamour and fun, she doesn’t know herself well enough yet to make life changing decisions and I’m sure most of us can relate to feeling pressured at 16 to know what exactly you want to become. She’s gorgeous with a natural beauty and when dressed up has a definite Audrey Hepburn look. The sixties fashion kept me swooning and I adored the outfit she wore to the races:

‘An Education’ shows how even though the sixties were a time of change and open-mindedness in many regards, there were still old ideas digging their heels in about women and what constituted a “successful” or accomplished young lady.

Headmistress: Nobody does anything worth doing without a degree.
Jenny: Nobody does anything worth doing WITH a degree. No woman anyway.
Headmistress: So what I do isn’t worth doing? Or what Miss Stubbs does, or Mrs. Wilson, or any of us here? Because none of us would be here without a degree. You do realize that, don’t you? And yes, of course studying is hard and boring…
Jenny: Boring!
Headmistress: I’m sorry?
Jenny: Studying is hard and boring. Teaching is hard and boring. So, what you’re telling me is to be bored, and then bored, and finally bored again, but this time for the rest of my life? This whole stupid country is bored! There’s no life in it, or color, or fun! It’s probably just as well the Russians are going to drop a nuclear bomb on us any day now. So my choice is to do something hard and boring, or to marry my… Jew, and go to Paris and Rome and listen to jazz, and read, and eat good food in nice restaurants, and have fun! It’s not enough to educate us anymore Ms. Walters. You’ve got to tell us why you’re doing it.

“If you never do anything, you never become anyone.” - Jenny

Watch the trailer here.
Thanks to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1174732/, http://screencrave.frsucrave.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/aneducation09-7-15.jpg, http://www.empireonline.com/images/features/23-buzz-films-at-sundance-2009/an-education.jpg, http://images.movieplayer.it/2009/01/30/carey-mulligan-in-una-sequenza-del-film-an-education-104063.jpg, http://threeinacrowd.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/an_education13.jpg

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2 Comments

  1. irene

    totally agreed stace! it was a beautiful movie, but the story line still grosses me out. Love the layout of your blog! You should watch bright star, another one also beautifull made !

    • staceyburr

      Thanks for your comment Rene!! :) I know the storyline grossed me out too but it really had to happen that way for her to fully realize what she wanted out of life. Lessons lessons lessons

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