When I read that Nick Hornby, a favorite writer of mine, had written the screenplay for An Education, my spirits rose. Who better, I thought, to translate a coming-of-age memoir about a 16-year-old girl in 1961 London than Hornby, an aging male Baby Boomer like myself?
But does Hornby pull it off? Mostly. I thought An Education was touching, funny, and with a few exceptions, true. Is it true to teenage-girl life, circa 1961? Were parents of teenage girls as naïve as they are in this film? I have no idea. I’d have to consult with a group of 16-year-old girls, or girls who were 16 fifty years ago. What I do know is that the film is witty and the performances are captivating.
Carey Mulligan, as young Jenny, might have lost out on an Oscar this year, but I don’t think there’s much question we’ll be seeing a lot more of her. An Education is really just soap opera, a morality tale about making bad choices and living with consequences; in other words, it’s a film we’ve seen many times before. But it’s a story that never grows old because it’s a story that never changes, whether it’s 1961 or 2010. At least I think so. I’ll have to consult with some teenage girls. Grade: B
Director: Lone Scherfig Cast: Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, Olivia Williams, Cara Seymour, Emma Thompson, Matthew Beard, Sally Hawkins Release: 2009
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