07 October 2009

An Education

Directed by: Lone Scherfig
Written by: Nick Hornby
Full credits at IMDb

On paper, An Education is just another clich-soused bildungsscreenplay. So, that on screen it's anything other than an object of infuriation is a near-miracle, one that owes its success (or, its lack of utter failure) to its stellar cast and its extra-Hollywood pedigree. Up-and-comer Carey Mulligan stars as Jenny, a Mad Men-era high schooler stifled by the rigid, Oxford-or-bust academics imposed by her father (Alfred Molina, a hoot); she dreams of intellectual freedom—mostly, the liberty to see French films and listen to French records. She seems to find the happiness she seeks with David (Peter Sarsgaard), a suave and shady "art dealer" twice her age, who seduces her with the allure of adulthood elegance: nightclubs, classical music, art auctions, truancy, cigarettes, champagne, Audrey Hepburn hairdos and overnight trips. (Sarsgaard seduced Mulligan so well that she reportedly recommended him for a similar role in the Royal Court Theatre's production of The Seagull.) She's the Mariel Hemingway in his Manhattan mix.

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