Surely it's the Things We Do Beforehand That Count: An Education (2009)

9 out of 10 times British movies are cooler than their American counterparts, and Lone Scherfig's 2009 drama An Education is certainly prove of this.  With a cast that includes the enigmatic Carey Mulligan and the suave Peter Sarsgaard it is difficult not to enjoy the movie.  The fine tuned visuals and consistent acting throughout make for an intense movie about love and loss of innocence that is only made more unyielding in the well-delivered performances throughout.  It shows the pain of lost love and the discomforts maturing without offering the unnecessary sugarcoating of most Hollywood offerings.

An Education follows the life of Jenny (Carey Mulligan) as she strives to outshine her classmates at an all girls school in the UK.  Her father, brilliantly played by Alfred Molina, who has his eyes set on her daughter attending Oxford, reinforces her desires.    Jenny appears to be on track to obtain these goals, until she is offered a ride to escape the rain from the much older David (Peter Sarsgaard).  What ensues is Jenny's infatuation with the well traveled and care free David, going on trips to Oxford and Paris with him all the while ignoring her school work and confronting her teachers about their own failed lives.  Even Jenny's father consents to her time with David, because as he sees it this is precisely the man he'd hoped she would meet while at Oxford.  Unfortunately, as it becomes quickly evident David is not exactly the brilliant man he claimed to be; instead he steals items, preys on the elderly and exploits the system to make money, and in his own stupidity hides a very big secret from Jenny, one that ultimately decides the couples fate.  It is a film about growing up that reminds its viewers that sometimes the experience can be quite tumultuous.

The film catches a very unique moment in history, by displaying London in the 1960's.  It plays nicely on the division between old world tradition and the burgeoning revolutionaries that would rule ideology well into the seventies.  Each bit of dialogue exists to further this divide, often using the relationship between Jenny and her father to portray this.  However, the film's soundtrack, scenery and costuming further this notion.  The world of Jenny's father is ruled by the traditional ideals of C.S. Lewis and Jane Austen, while Jenny and David thrive on the literature of existentialists and the films of French New Wave directors.  It is a film that shows the troubles of changing ideals, using Jenny as the metaphor for the loss of innocence that would occur with the onset of Vietnam.

An Education may not have received universal acclaim upon its release, but it is how one should make a movie.  While the film certainly stands heavy on its acting, it is well nshot nonetheless and would be done just if viewed in Bluray format.

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