Mini-Review: An Education (2009)

Starring Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Rosamund Pike, Dominic Cooper, Emma Thompson, Olivia Williams, Cara Seymour, Sally Hawkins, Matthew Beard, Ellie Kendrick, Beth Rowley

Directed by Lone Scherfig

Expectations: Super low, but Nick Hornby wrote the script so I do expect it will be well written.


There’s nothing wrong with this movie, but there isn’t really anything special about it either. Sure, Carey Mulligan is a great new talent and really shows off her ability in her role, but there’s not much else to get excited about here. What’s the point of it all?

The film is competently made and the dialogue is well written. The acting is very good all around. I’m a big Alfred Molina fan and I wasn’t aware that he was in this, so that was a welcome surprise. Despite the fact that they got these key things right, they forgot to have an interesting story. The whole thing for me just exudes this air of being wonderfully okay.

A dashing young man seduces a school girl. It’s been done before and I expected this movie to add something new. Nick Hornby wrote the script. He’s the guy who wrote the novels that became High Fidelity and About a Boy. I remember enjoying About a Boy despite expecting to hate it, so I was hoping for something of the same thing with An Education. Unfortunately, right from the moment when I saw that Peter Saarsgard was seducing Carey Mulligan, I had the rest of the story in my head if they chose to follow convention into the pit of cliché. They did just that. How disappointing.

One other thing that especially bothered me about the film was the music. Can we please stop having touching, slow piano music over scenes where I’m supposed to have an emotional response? I might actually have one if not for the sappy, clichéd film score. Music can be used to great effect in film, even touching piano music, but some of the music in An Education is ridiculously unnecessary and actually takes away from the potential power of the film.

It’s not a horrible film overall, it’s definitely watchable but the real question is who cares? The only real reason to see this is for Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard’s well-done performances. Most everything else is just boring and pointless.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRbp-dd1QvM

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