Out on DVD | An Education – Carey Mulligan’s Jenny learns lessons in life & love

An Education - Carey Mulligan & Peter Sarsgaard star in the period movie based on Lynn Barber’s memoir

Rising star Carey Mulligan won a well-deserved Bafta and an Oscar nomination for her pitch-perfect performance as the teenage protagonist of sharp, smart, witty coming-of-age drama An Education.

Scripted by Nick Hornby from the memoir by journalist Lynn Barber, the film is set in drab suburban London in 1961, just before the Sixties really got swinging.

And just as Britain is on the cusp of the exciting, rebellious Sixties, so too is Mullligan’s Jenny on the cusp of exciting, rebellious womanhood. A bright 16-year-old Twickenham schoolgirl swotting for Oxbridge, her mix of worldliness and naivety allows her to be charmed by Peter Sarsgaard’s louche thirtysomething David and swept up into his glamorous but rackety world.

An Education - Rosamund Pike & Dominic Cooper co-star in the period movie based on Lynn Barber’s memoir

With the encouragement of her socially insecure father (an excellent Alfred Molina), Jenny is soon enjoying a fast life of trips to nightclubs, concerts, auctions and the dogs in the company of David’s cosmopolitan friends Helen (Rosamund Pike) and Danny (Dominic Cooper). Of course, Jenny’s flashy new education comes with a price tag, as she eventually learns

An Education deserves high marks. You could argue that the central relationship ought to seem sleazier, but Danish director Lone Scherfig perfectly captures the era’s look and mood, Hornby’s Oscar-nominated script is deft and the performances are spot on – with impressive support from Olivia Williams and Emma Thompson (Jenny’s bluestocking teacher and headmistress respectively). As sophisticated scattterbrain Helen, Pike very nearly steals the film with such radiantly dim aperçus as: “In about 50 years, nobody will speak Latin, probably. Not even Latin people.”

Released on 8th March.

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