An Education did well at this years' Oscars and it's easy to see why. A coming-of-age story set in the early 60s, the movie benefits from the glamour of that era, strong, charismatic performances, a simplistic, but appealing story and a sparkling screenplay, adapting Lynn Barber's memoirs, by author Nick Hornby. The end result is a movie that's charmingly old-fashioned, harping back to the kitchen sink dramas of 1960s British cinema, and which effortlessly draws you in.
The story is rather straightforward. Carey Mulligan plays Jenny, a seemingly worldly-wise and undoubtedly intelligent 16 year old girl who is studying hard to pass the entry examinations for Oxford, pushed on by her ambitious father (Alfred Molina). Then she meets David (Peter Sarsgaard), nearly twice her age, charmingly seductive, who introduces her into a more exciting and glamorous world.
If you're a fan of Mad Men, there's a huge amount to enjoy here too. The period detailing, from the attitudes to the outfits, is fantastic. There's a real glamour throughout as Jenny is introduced to a more exciting world of jazz clubs and fine dining, of glamorous clothes and glamorous people, by David and his two friends, played by Dominic Cooper and Rosamund Pike. It'd spoil the movie to say too much, but the juxtaposition between this world and the more dowdy world of academia, represented by Jenny's teachers, in the shape of Emma Thompson and Olivia Williams, is pivotal.
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