Film: An Education

Cast includes: Carey Mulligan (When Did You Last See Your
), Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead), Dominic Cooper (The History Boys), Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day), Alfred Molina (Frida), Olivia Williams (The Six Sense)
Screenplay: Nick Hornby (About a Boy)
Genre: Biographical drama

In brief: While standing in the rain with her cello, prep school student, Jenny meets David, an interesting “older” man in a fancy maroon car. “If you had any sense you wouldn’t get in a car with a strange man. But I’m a music lover, and I’m worried about your cello.” She does get in the car, of course. And when David asks if Jenny enjoys concerts, Jenny confesses that she never goes to any… her father doesn’t see the point. Jenny only plays the cello to help her get into Oxford. Chances are good that Jenny will get in… she’s an excellent student. But David wants to “show her things”… give her an education at the “university of life,” where he studied.

The year is 1961; the place is a suburb of London. You might think that Jenny’s parents would stand in the way of her association with David. But David proves not only to be a charmer of young girls, he's also a charmer of parents. There’s something unsettling about David, even as he introduces Jenny to glamorous friends and takes her to wonderful places, events and restaurants. “You have no idea how boring everything was before I met you,” says Jenny. She’s is in danger of throwing away her chances of getting into Oxford for an opportunity to live the exciting life David has introduced her to.

Even though we think we know what’s best for Jenny, things aren’t as clear-cut from where Jenny is. After all, what does Oxford have to offer Jenny… a chance to study lots of boring stuff so she can graduate and have the opportunity lead a boring life… get a job as a teacher, perhaps? Or there’s civil service. After all, it’s 1961. If Jenny’s really lucky, she can meet an interesting man at Oxford and get married. But she’s already met an interesting man. So again…what does Oxford have to offer?

popcorn rating

4 popped kernels

Popped kernels for the excellent, excellent script. Add in the wonderful acting, and it's a winner.

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When a familiar story meets a gifted writer

Don’t know why I purchased High Fidelity back in 1996. Guess I decided to judge a book by the cover, and the cover appealed to me. Nick Hornby has been one of my favorites ever since. His often-offbeat heroes never fail to endear themselves. His offbeat plots are always entertaining.


Hornby was given a short memoir from Lynn Barber as a starting point for An Education. It wasn’t about offbeat characters or offbeat situations. The story is totally believable and very familiar. Yet Hornby makes it compelling on so many levels… a wonderfully crafted plot, artful dialogue and a thoughtfully layered observation on the realities of life in the 1960s. And if you’re a Hornby fan, you know that music is one of his passions. Like his other films, this one also has a wonderful soundtrack.




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