Sunday, 1 November 2009
To see An Education, last night. Nick Hornby and Lone Scherfig's rendering of Lynn Barber's autobiographical coming-of-age tale, set in early 1960s London, tells the story of 16 year-old Jenny, a bright A level student played with great panache if a little too much maturity by Carey Mulligan, hoping to get to Oxford, who lets her studies suffer as she receives the attentions of an older man, David, whose flash car owes much to his dubious business dealings. Jenny's parents are as seduced as she is by David's charm and wealth, allowing her to swap her homework for weekends in Oxford and Paris, all the time oblivious to the increasingly unpalatable truths about their daughter's 'boyfriend'. Critics have bemoaned the breeziness of the film, which splendidly evokes the good life for some in London at that time, wishing for something darker and more sordid, to go with the obvious unsuitability of the relationship. But the film's ending is hardly lacking in an appropriate lesson in morality, and the film benefits from its general breeziness - and some great acting.