An Education (2009) – 4/5

Pretty good film. Nothing groundbreaking, and the beginning is a little slow, but the film grows on you over time until it becomes downright entertaining, and surprisingly suspenseful. And that Carey Mulligan is adorable, in a squishy-faced sort of way.

The script is the strongest aspect of the film, though the acting from its lead is also quite good. It’s an interesting story well told in a period and location I know little about. Maybe setting romances in 1960s Britain is a romantic cliché, but I had never seen a film set there before, so I was intrigued.

I also enjoyed the story. It’s not quite what you’d expect. The film starts to go in one direction, then slowly drops hints in another until the reveal at the end. It was unique, and I applaud the filmmakers for keeping things relatively fresh.

The cinematography is also nice to look at, and the humor is pretty strong. The only thing I didn’t buy was the decision the lead character makes at the end. I understand why she chooses to do what she does, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that everything she had said about the pitfalls of becoming an “educated woman” earlier in the film were wrong.

It seems like her only real “problem” is having been born a woman in Britain during that specific period. At least, that’s what I gathered to be the eventual message of the film.

It’s also interesting to think that, were this film set in 1960s America, or in present day, Peter Sarsgaard’s character would be considered little more than a child rapist given his relationship with Mulligan’s character. But maybe that’s the point: he’s supposed to be a bit unlikable, a bit off. Eh. I didn’t much like his performance. He was charismatic, sure, but he has this disconnected nature about him that’s dull and unconvincing.

Overall, though, it’s a solid, entertaining, well acted and written film that’s worth watching.

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