This week is all about the Oscars, isn’t it? So why don’t we go ahead and continue with Movie Backtrack, this time looking back at a 2009 British coming-of-age film, An Education.
When I first heard of this film from a friend, it really intrigued me. Sources point out a Rotten Tomatoes rating of a whopping 94%. Seeing a rating that high, I knew I had to watch it.
It was a delight to watch not only because of the appealing cinematography, but also for the numerous vintage stuff that make it faithful to the story’s 1960s setting. Lead actress Carey Mulligan gave a pleasant performance, and was indeed a charming “show stealer” in this film. The 24-year-old British actress (22 when she was casted) starred as Jenny Mellor, a 16-year-old schoolgirl who gets into a relationship with an attractive but much older man named David Goldman (portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard).
It all started in 1961 England, when David gave a seemingly harmless offer to give Jenny a lift upon seeing her soaking wet in the rain with her cello. He calls out to her and introduces himself as a “strange man” she wouldn’t talk to if she has some sense in her, but also “music lover” worried about her cello. Jenny accepts his offer and the two engage in conversation.
You know what usually happens with most encounters like this; it starts with an “innocent” conversation, then a series of meetings, until an actual relationship develops. When it came to the part where David has to meet Jenny’s over-protective parents, the suave, charismatic man knew just how to sweet-talk them just right. In fact, he was so good that he was able to take Jenny not only to evening parties, concerts, and jazz clubs; he managed to take her to Paris.
While finding her relationship with David exhilarating and carefree, Jenny slowly lost interest in her studies and started questioning her ambition of reading English in Oxford. It finally came to a point where she had to choose between “something hard and boring” or a fun and colorful life with David.
While I am no stranger to stories like this, I still found myself absorbed and glued onto the screen. It was like watching something you’ve seen before, yet you’re still looking forward to each scene’s unfolding. Mulligan was a very convincing epitome of a young girl in a hurry to be an adult, so convincing that every inch of me felt strongly frustrated when the supposedly clever and promising Jenny decided to spiral down into a “ruined woman.”
Tales like these conclude quite similarly, and girls like Jenny all learn an important lesson in different ways, in varying degrees. It is a worthwhile and enlightening coming-of-age film that every girl, whether young or otherwise, should take time to watch.
An Education garnered a number of significant accolades, among them the Audience Choice and Cinematography awards at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, Best Hollywood Breakthrough Performance for a Female (for Carey Mulligan) in the Hollywood Film Festival, and three Academy Award nominations (Best Picture, Best Actress for Carey Mulligan, and Best Adapted Screenplay). Mulligan won the Best Actress award in the 63rd British Academy Film Awards.
Watch the official An Education trailer below:
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Information for this article were taken from An Education on Wikipedia.
Which films do you think are worthy of an OSCAR nod? Leave your comments below! Hopefully, this film will inspire you to create your own feature film with the LomoKino.