The film An Education is about a young girl named Jenny. Jenny is a teenager in the 1960’s played by newcomer Carey Mulligan. Jenny meets a charming young man named David on her walk home from school on a rainy day and he cordially offers her a ride home. David finds Jenny intelligent and engaging and creates events that allow her to spend time in a higher social class than she is used to. This is where her education truly begins as she eventually has to learn how to balance her studies and spend time with David and his friends. Jenny is guaranteed a certain amount of freedom and intellectual exercise by going to events with David and his friends. Jenny gladly takes the opportunity to learn how the other half lives instead of being nagged by her family to choose a strong academic vocation when her true love is the cello.
I found this film to be engaging although it did drag in a few places. Carey Mulligan is the standout of this film as her performance was charming and honest which really ended up being where the picture showed most of its heart. There was vulnerability to the character of Jenny and watching her evolution into a slightly older and more mature version of herself is where this dramatic independent film succeeded. Conversely there were a few points where the film dragged and most of those moments came from Jenny’s interactions with her parents…but I argue we needed those moments so that we could see the limitations and restrictions placed on Jenny outside of her interactions with her parents played by Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour. In short, if you’re looking for a coming of age tale with some frailty and honesty look no further than this film. Sometimes the best way to learn is by diving in and experiencing the world for yourself and I respect Jenny’s courage for taking the risk. I highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys independent film dramas or strong female characters.