An Education is a very good coming of age movie. It is also somewhat odd because a story about a sixteen-year-old being seduced by a man in his thirties automatically makes a modern viewer squirm a bit at first yet the movie is set in what is often perceived as a much more innocent period and place; the pre-Beatle 60s and England. Odd also because the most adult moment in the movie, aside from a bare back, is when the characters smoke.
An Education is more of a chick flick than a drama. It is certainly a well-acted movie. Carey Mulligan is pretty good as Jenny, a high school kid who likes to pretend she is sophisticated and dreams of going to Oxford. She is seduced by the apparent sophistication of an older man named David (Peter Sarsgaard). Jenny’s father, played by Alfred Molina, is very petit bourgeois and he too is seduced by David including the possibility David can help Jenny get to Oxford. David and his pal Danny are schemers and only sophisticated in Jenny’s eyes. Rosamund Pike is excellent as Danny’s ditsy girlfriend.
What makes the seduction palatable is Jenny may be an innocent but she is not as innocent as all that. David may be an older man yet in some ways he is more a child than the young woman he has fallen for.
The one annoying thing about Mulligan is she constantly seems on the edge of tears even when there is no reason for her character to be like that. It gets to be very distracting.
Special features on the An Education DVD feature a commentary track with Mulligan, Sarsgaard, and Sherfig which is also available as subtitles, a Making Of, a feature about the movie premiere, and deleted scenes.