Like my book reviews site, these are movie reviews I write for entertainment purposes only. These are just my reviews and my opinions. They are not endorsed by Blogger or any movie studios or anyone else. So there. I borrowed my scoring system from the Metacritic site, which does not imply an endorsement from them, although I think they do have a very nice website. I convert the 1-100 scores into 1-4 stars, essentially it works like this:

1 star = 25 points
2 stars = 50 points
3 stars = 75 points
4 stars = 100 points

And then if something falls about halfway between, then I'll give it an added half-star.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Education

The old expression is that if something is too good to be true, it probably is.  This holds especially true in love.  When 16-year-old schoolgirl Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is offered a ride home in the rain by the much-older David (Peter Sarsgaard) she is instantly smitten.  David has a sports car, he likes music, books, films, art, and all the other things that a wanna-be worldly girl like Jenny wants in a man.

It doesn’t take long for David to not only seduce Jenny but her parents as well.  Her father (Alfred Molina) is almost as impressed with David’s knowledge as Jenny.  He’s especially impressed that David seems to be rich and connected to famous people like CS Lewis.  So with little prompting he allows Jenny to spend weekends with David unchaperoned, including a trip to Paris.

Even after Jenny learns some dark secrets about David, she decides to stay with him because he’s the cure to her life of constant studying Latin and Victorian literature to try and get into Oxford.  Her teachers try to dissuade her when she starts getting in too deep, but Jenny shucks this off as jealousy.

This is all a good setup for a mature and thoughtful romance.  It’s too bad the final act takes a predictable turn.  It would have been nice if the movie had tried to think outside the box a little bit more in resolving the relationship between Jenny and David.  Instead it falls back on a cliché like so many movies do.

The title "An Education" has a double meaning.  First there's the issue of education in Jenny's father's relentless quest to get her into Oxford.  What Jenny starts to wonder after spending time with David is what's the point of this education if she's going to end up lonely and bored like her teachers?  (This taking place in 1961 there weren't many other opportunities for young women like her.)  The title also refers to the education Jenny receives about life from her relationship with David.  That is perhaps far more important.

Carey Mulligan does a great job of portraying the vulnerable and naïve young girl who like so many before her thinks she knows far more than she does.  Peter Sarsgaard (born in Illinois) does a good job at portraying an older British guy without coming across like a creep.

Overall this was another movie like “500 Days of Summer” also from last year that’s a romantic movie but isn’t your traditional romance.  If you want that you could go watch “The Last Song” or some other Nicholas Sparks tripe.

That is all.

My score:  75/100 (3 stars)
Metacritic score 85/100 (3.5 stars)

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