I’ve been dying to see An Education. I was dying to see it before the Oscars since it was nominated, but at that point, it was already out of most theaters and wasn’t out on DVD yet. That all changed yesterday as it was officially available to purchase and rent. I had a feeling I would love it but I rented it in the Redbox to play it safe. I however didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. Should’ve just gone and bought it. No worries, it’s on my list.
I’m just going to dive right into the main attraction; . Love her so much. The girl can act quite brilliantly. And the dimples, that little smirk she has, and the English accent only accentuate that; make you love her even more. In this role as Jenny, she plays a 16-year-old school girl who is seduced by a man over twice her age. Sounds awkward, right? You know what…it really wasn’t. I think it’s because of the way Mulligan plays Jenny. She was light and fresh and happy. She was smart and beautiful and educated and fit right along with David and his friends. And Peter Sarsgaard, he could’ve come across as the creepy old man trying to seduce a young girl, but he didn’t. Not in the beginning anyway. Jenny was sheltered by her parents and she wanted nothing more than the world. She wanted to go everywhere and see everything. She enjoyed classical music and art and concerts. And David, he gave that to her. He introduced her to a life she had never known coming from a middle-class family in suburban London. I actually wanted them to work. I actually believed they would work. Crazy, huh? And I was kind of shocked at the outcome.
The thing I got most out of this movie though was the glimpse into how things have changed for women (and how they haven’t) in the past 50 years. This girl, all her life she had been working so hard, pushed so hard to get into Oxford because her dad wanted more for her than what he had achieved. But the minute this guy came into her life, she threw it all out the window. When he asked her to marry him, she quit school. She didn’t take her exams. She gave up her dream of going to Oxford. All because it wasn’t necessary anymore now that she’d found a husband. What? I am so glad that’s changed. I am so glad that women are encouraged to go to college. To have their own dreams. To achieve things that was once only achievable by men. I'm so glad that I've never had the mindset to think that having a man in my life is greater than having and achieving my own dreams. And I know, in the big scope of things, it hasn’t changed all that much. But I wouldn’t say progress hasn’t been made. It has. So when Jenny’s relationship with David was ripped out from under her, I was rooting for her to go after her dreams. I was rooting for her to be a kid again and to enjoy the things she missed while she was off living a life of luxury in Paris.
The screenplay is based on a memoir by British journalist Lynn Barber, who at the age of 16 had a two-year affair with a man named Simon who was in his late 30s. She writes about her time with him: "What did I get from Simon? An education -- the thing my parents always wanted me to have... I learned about expensive restaurants and luxury hotels and foreign travel, I learned about antiques and Bergman films and classical music. But actually there was a much bigger bonus than that. My experience with Simon entirely cured my craving for sophistication. By the time I got to Oxford, I wanted nothing more than to meet kind, decent, straightforward boys my own age, no matter if they were gauche or virgins. I would marry one eventually and stay married all my life and for that, I suppose, I have Simon to thank."
And we have Carey Mulligan to thank for bringing that to life. For making us realize that we have to grow up far too quickly in life.
Why rush it?