An Education

Watched the film a couple of weeks ago, but was too uninspired to blog. I’m just done with X’mas dinner (Merry Christmas to one and all!=p) and am just in the mood to mindlessly type haha.

An Education received rave reviews for being intelligent and witty, and for Carey Mulligan’s  (i.e. Shia Labeouf’s current squeeze) outstanding performance. The film, as its title suggests, chronicles the ‘education’ of Jenny, a bright, inquisitive, attractive 16-year-old bored to death in a boring girls’ school and an equally boring home in terribly boring 1960s London. She meets a much older man, makes illicit and exciting trips to Paris, to parties and to all places grown-up and sophisticated, falls in love with him, and loses her virginity at 17. No prizes for guessing that nothing good will come out of this relationship, except that little Jenny gets a little lesson in the university of life.

The film is so pretty that nearly all its scenes are post-card picture perfect. The colorful costumes, the old English air, everything, was very nice to look at. Mulligan did a good job navigating the boredom, naivety, intelligence, sweetness and vulnerability of a teenager. Some lines packed a punch (Nick Hornby, the author, is behind the screenplay). The supporting cast was excellent- especially the chap who played Jenny’s whimpy father (my favourite dramatic scene involves him standing outside Jenny’s room, feeling for the pain his daughter feels, and not quite knowing what to do about it )and Emma Thompson as the severe headmistress.

And that was really it. I thought the plot was straightforward and took so long to unravel, I was at certain junctures, like Jenny, completely bored out of mind. Peter Sarsgaard, as the older man David, has been praised for being charming, for making it believable that Jenny would fall for him, but I beg to differ. I found his David swarmy, and almost eerie in a paedophilic way. I really can’t see how a pretty teen with a mind of her own would fall for a dirty old man. And while Mulligan is a good actress, she just wasn’t convincing as a 16-year-old. She looks like someone in her mid-20s, but she probably is, and this was just another thing which irritated me throughout the film.

My only takeaway (and it could have been achieved in half the time the film took to tell Jenny’s story): A person who has never done anything silly, or exciting but oh-so-wrong, leads a bland existence but one who makes a mistake that cannot be reversed is a tragedy. The most fortunate are those who get a second chance and make the most out of it after learning from past follies.

On leave until Jan 4, that’s Santa’s gift to me this year=)

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