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An Education (2009)

At first sight, An Education may be perceived as a funny, easygoing film, but beware: the only funny and easygoing thing in this story is Jenny (Carey Mulligan), a 16 year old teenager on her way to Oxford who on a fateful rainy day meets a charming older man, David. The theme is fairly common for as Jenny herself said, Silly schoolgirls are always getting seduced by glamorous older men. In these situations our experience advises caution, for most likely it won’t have a pleasant ending.

However, in An Education traditional rules don’t apply, and we’re lead to believe that a tragic ending is not at all in the cards for this love story. For this accomplishment we must give credit to Peter Sarsgaard (David), who so cleverly shifts from villain to passionate hero, keeping us guessing which one he truly is until the very last minute. If at times we doubt the purity of his intentions towards Jenny, we soon forget about it, blowed away by his nice manners and kind heart, to which not even Jenny’s dad was able to resist. Her father, Jack, is a british man of the 60’s – a peculiar and hilarious character, unforgettable in the hands of Alfred Molina.

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And Carey Mulligan is simply outstanding, with a spontaneity and maturity that is uncommon at such a young age. I’m sure we can expect many more amazing performances from her in a near future. Coordinating all of these fine actors and plot, is Lone Scherfig, who with his crucial attention to detail and talent to create non-agressive environments makes us embrace this decade with ease, and most importantly makes it impossible to hate any of the characters no matter how flawed they may be. 

But An Education is much more that a doomed love affair – it’s the portrait of a young girl that, despite being surrounded by peculiar times, struggles with some of the same issues that teenagers nowadays do: the eternal uncertainty of her youth makes her see herself as a woman before she actually becomes one; her hopeful innocence and imagination makes her blindly trust in the university of life that David and his friends (Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike) seem to live in. 

Ignoring reason and the advices of her teacher (Olivia Williams), Jenny lets herself go for a life filled with art auctions, jazz clubs and luxurious clothes, where the word consequence holds no place – the perfect starting point to build the french-like lifestyle she so desperately dreams of. 

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