2009 100 minutes
Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina
Directed by Lone Scherfig Screenplay by Nick Hornby, based on the Memoir by Lynn Barber
*** out of ****
For the first 90 minutes, An Education is a great film. For the final 10 minutes, An Education is an after-school special where everything wraps up neatly, and the heroine gives an out of nowhere voice-over speech just to let the audience know that despite everything that has happened, there are no consequences for anything she has done. Of course, this is based on a memoir, so maybe everything did work itself out as well as it does in the film. Even so, are viewers assumed to be so intellectually and emotionally helpless that they have to be told that everything is okay? I get just as tired of hearing the phrase "show, don't tell" from Internet know-it-alls who review movies in their blogs as anyone, but good grief. Look, this has made me so upset I have forgotten An Education's considerable strengths. Carey Mulligan deserves every accolade she has received in the part of Jenny, a late 60's high school student who finds herself wooed by a mysterious older man played by Peter Sarsgaard, who will make you forget he is not British. You can probably guess what happens, but the performances, direction, and high production values always keep things interesting. Director Scherfig does a great job at keeping Jenny's growth subtle, steady, and believable throughout the film...till the denouement and that darned voice-over Vanna Whites any gray area or mystery. Unless you haven't been paying attention, the puzzle reads: DON'T WORRY YOUR LITTLE HEAD. This may also explain why I was thinking of pizza last night as I drifted off to sleep, and not this movie.