An Education

Year: 2009
Studio: BBC Films
Director: Lone Scherfig
Writer: Nick Hornby/Lynne Barber
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Olivia Williams, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike

A very illustrious start to a career that's had hardly any low notes so far, Carey Mulligan holds her own against far more experienced performers like Peter Sarsgaard and Alfred Molina.

Jenny (Mulligan) is a teenager in the swinging 60s who feels like all the swinging is going on everywhere but her place. Smart and hungry for everything the world has to offer, Jenny aches for the romance and intellectualism of the great writers and artists of Paris and beyond. She studies hard as her loving but prickly Dad (Molina) wishes, knowing education is her ticket to a better life, but she's ripe pickings for a worldly older man like David (Sarsgaard) who has a car, money to take her places and buy her things and becomes a doorway into the world she's always dreamed of.

Even her otherwise wily parents are taken in by David's charm and Jenny finds their strictures about her moral protection slipping as David wins them over even though he's twice her age.

But as the world is seemingly offered to her on a silver platter, some of the sheen comes off David and his high class friends and it becomes apparent to Jenny their true living isn't as upstanding as it appears. Too smart to ignore the train wreck coming in her relationship with him, Jenny realises she may have thrown her lot in with a con artists instead of going to Oxford as she'd always dreamed and is left hoping it isn't too late to make amends when she leaves school to be with him.

Mulligan showed the appeal that has endured so far throughout her career, and she's certainly made better choices than her senior co-stars. Molina and Sargaard are both excellent but they need the right roles to sink their teeth into like The Hoax and Kinsey respectively, not crap like Abduction and Thor.

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