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Movie Review: An Education

Alternate Title: Growing Pains

Story: There should have been an ew factor in this terrific film about a young girl's seduction by an older man but because of the sensitive directing by Lone Scherfig and sensational acting by the entire cast I found this film to be almost flawless. It was written by Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy) and based on a memoir by Lynn Barber.

It is 1961, Twickenham, a suburb outside of London. Young Jenny is impatient to grow up and get on with what she anticipates to be an amazing life. Her eager parents have been molding her for Oxford in a, by the book, fashion. A chance meeting on a rainy day will change all of the predictables in 16 year old Jenny's life. Older David, encapsulates all of the danger and longing she is after. He is mysterious, Jewish, cultured, loves music and art, lives the high life and adores her. She is smitten and willingly goes along with what may prove to be life altering events. Jenny is bright, longs to be sophisticated and is not played as a victim at all. It does not hurt either that David does not come off as predatory.

I will not reveal much more of the plot or else I would be a spoiler. Check out this film for some great entertainment and watch a star in the making in the young Carey Mulligan.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYkLgaQ27L8

Acting: Carey Mulligan as Jenny is sheer perfection. he owns the camera and every scene that she is seen. Brava to young Carey Mulligan. Peter Sarsgaard as David, works his underplayed screen magic once again. Dominic Cooper as partner Danny is just right in his role too. Rosamund Pike as girlfriend Helen has some terrific lines and almost steals some scenes. Alfred Molina as Jenny's father Jack, has almost all of the funny lines and surprised me by his nuanced performance. Cara Seymour as the mother, Marjorie, also works wonderfully. Emma Thompson as the Headmistress, in a small, but terrific part. Olivia Williams as the teacher, Miss Stubbs is also grand.

Trivia: Carey Mulligan lived in London from birth until the age of three before moving with her family to Germany, where she attended the International School of Dusseldorf. She is in a relationship with Shia LaBeouf as of August 2009, having met him when they began filming Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps together. Peter Sarsgaard often takes supporting roles instead of headlining a picture, whereby his character is friend to the main character in the film (Kinsey, Shattered Glass, Garden State, Jarhead). Peter and his wife, Maggie Gyllenhaal, became the parents of a girl, named Ramona. Rosamund Pike was friends with Chelsea Clinton while at Wadham College, Oxford. Not only are they both the same height (5' 9"), they are both fluent in German, and they are both only children.

Predilection: I like Peter Sarsgaard and as soon as I realized that I was the same age as Jenny was playing in the early 60's I could not help but relate to her situation and the times.

Critters: Racing dogs.

Food: Birthday Cake, breakfast and lots of alcohol.

Sex Spectrum: Some snuggling and talk of sex.

Soundtrack: Perfect blend of high and low culture.

Opening Titles: A delightful graphic superimposed over the girls' school.

Visual Art: Director of photography, John de Borman captured the early 60's through his lens and attention to detail by production designer, Andrew McAlpine was terrific as were the Pre-Raphaelite paintings.

Theater Audience: A few of us in the secret balcony but lots of people downstairs as I could hear the laughter.

Weather: It rains in London.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: The more that a whiff of anti-semitism and racist sentiments should have made me squirm but it was treated with taste and good fun. Actually some of the best laughs of the film involved the English anti-semitic run of the mill statements.

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen.

Length: Under two hours.