Mar 15, 2010

[Movies] An Education (2009)

An Education (2009)Life is always rich with stories that are certainly worth exploring as books, TV shows and movies. This is not to say that such stories are always presented effectively, and this is true no matter how good the original tale was in real life. That's just how adaptations go, I suppose.

Awards shows like the Oscars are always a great place to look to when you want to try out good movies that you may not have heard of. Let's face it, a lot of the better quality movies tend to die in local theaters given how overwhelming limited our distributors are and the sad focus on what they perceive to be guaranteed money-making movies as opposed to furthering the art form and ensuring that people are given the opportunity to watch the good stuff. Even movies like The Hurt Locker barely got any notice during its first limited run but now we're probably going to see it reappear in cinemas because it swept the awards from the Academy.

This one one of those movies that received a good number of nominations and one that I wonder if I would have ever heard about outside the Oscars.

An Education is a coming of age type of drama piece based on the autobiographical memoir of Lynn Barber, a British journalist.

The movie takes place around the time when a young girl named Jenny (Carey Mulligan) still in school, working on her grades in order to get into Oxford for university at the tender age of 16. One rainy day she encounters a charming older man named David (Peter Sarsgaard). He captures her attention with his extravagant lifestyle full of all things that she considers to be culturally interesting and avant garde and in time he even manages to sway her parents to allow him to take her out for longer and longer trips. He remains the perfect gentlemen during their times together and makes no inappropriate sexual advances and it seems that he's a dream come true.

But in time she discovers the darker side of David's life and how he earns his livelihood. Plus there's the looming choice of whether or not she should persevere in working on getting into university or if she should simply get married off to someone like David and life the comfortable life of a kept woman.

Blink (Doctor Who)Image via Wikipedia

Most science fiction fans should remember Carey Mulligan as Sally Sparrow from the ever-amazing Doctor Who episode "Blink", or perhaps as one of the Bennet sisters in Pride & Prejudice. It's both amazing and scary to consider how believable she was in the role of a 16 year old school girl despite being 24 already. Her performance was more than impressive and she carried herself very well. It's no wonder she got nominated for Best Actress for this portrayal.

Peter Sarsgaard was charming as always and he also carried himself pretty well. He didn't feel at all sleazy despite the fact that his character was making the moves on a girl that could very well be young enough to be his daughter. My partner totally dies for his wry little smile and I can see how that works.

The story overall is pretty intriguing but lacks that moment of high drama that we're used to. It just...happens, which is to be expected given the roots of this story is rooted within the real life story of an actual person. There are no fantastical moments and Jenny is a smart enough girl not to allow herself to be swept off her feet entirely. You just end up with a good story with a strong message that leaves you feeling satisfied but not necessarily impressed.

An Education was certainly informative and it gets 3.5 creatively acquired pieces of art out of a possible 5.

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