There’s only one real reason to see An Education: the arrival of Carey Mulligan. In one fell swoop she has gone from being a critically acclaimed, but little known, actress to being one of the top young actresses working based on one lead role. Nominated for an Oscar, and seemingly on the cusp of superstardom based on her upcoming roles (The Wall Street sequel, amongst others), Mulligan seems to be the next great actress of her generation. And when that happens, An Education will be looked at when she’s referred to as a modern equivalent to Audrey Hepburn.
Jenny (Mulligan) is a suburban English school girl trying to get into Oxford; she plays the cello and is obviously the smartest girl in her class. When she meets Jack (Peter Sarsgaard), a 30-something Jewish guy who’s of means (and sophistication) well beyond her, their May-December romance gives her the title of the film; it’s her loss of innocence and gaining a more realistic working knowledge of the world around her.
It’s an interesting film, to say the least, as it revolves around Jenny’s relationship with Jack and how it changes her. And it couldn’t have found a perfect actress for the part then Mulligan; it’s a spell-binding, career-making performance from a relatively inexperienced actress that’s spectacular to watch. This isn’t a young actress coming into her own via one part; it’s a gifted one finally given the platform to show off just how talented she truly is. It’s a mesmerizing performance and could’ve easily been an Academy Award winning performance; she may not have walked away with hardware but it’s a performance for the ages that’s hard to forget.
The film itself is rather forgettable. This is a typical “young person grows up when exposed to someone older in a romantic way” that’s been done many times before, and done better, and doesn’t stray from the usual formula. It does have a twist at the end that shouldn’t be too hard to spot because it’s the most logical outcome to the proceedings. There’s nothing new or special about it; it just happens to have a brilliant performance out of its most important character.
Presented in a widescreen format with a Dolby Digital surround sound, this is a rich looking and sounding DVD. 1960s England is a very rich era and the transfer brings out a lot of the great colors and sounds the film has to offer.
There’s a Commentary Track with Sarsgaard, Mulligan and the director of the film, Lone Scherfig.
The Making of An Education is an eight minute EPK piece about the making of the film and how they wanted to convey how deep the emotions were, et al.
Walking the red carpet is a quick piece following the cast and crew during the film’s premier.
The usual Deleted Scenes, as well as the film’s Theatrical Trailer are included alongside Previews of other Sony films.
An Education hopefully is the first great performance from many out of Carey Mulligan. The film itself is rather forgettable, but Jenny is not.
Sony Pictures Classics presents An Education . Directed by Lone Scherfig. Starring: Peter Sarsgaard, Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Sally Hawkins, Rosamund Pike. Written by Nick Hornby based on the memoir “An Education” by Lynn Barber. Running time 100 minutes. Rated PG-13. Released on DVD: March 30, 2010. Available at Amazon.com