An Education is a 2009 coming-of-age drama film based on a memoir of the same name by British journalist Lynn Barber. The film was directed by Lone Scherfig from a screenplay by Nick Hornby. It stars Carey Mulligan as Jenny, a bright schoolgirl, and Peter Sarsgaard as David, the charming conman who seduces her. The film was nominated for 3 Academy Awards in 2010: Best Picture,[4] Best Adapted Screenplay for Nick Hornby, and Best Actress for Carey Mulligan.[5]

An Education
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLone Scherfig
Screenplay byNick Hornby
Based onAn Education
by Lynn Barber
Produced by
CinematographyJohn de Borman
Edited byBarney Pilling
Music byPaul Englishby
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 18 January 2009 (2009-01-18) (Sundance)
  • 30 October 2009 (2009-10-30) (United Kingdom)
  • 5 February 2010 (2010-02-05) (United States)
Running time
100 minutes
  • United Kingdom[3]
  • United States[3]
Budget$7.5 million[1]
Box office$26.1 million[1]

An Education premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.[6] It screened on 10 September 2009 at the Toronto International Film Festival[7] and was featured at the Telluride by the Sea Film Festival in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on 19 September 2009.[8] The film was shown on 9 October 2009, at the Mill Valley Film Festival. It was released in the US on 16 October 2009 and in the UK on 30 October 2009.

Plot edit

In 1961 London, Jenny Mellor is a bright and beautiful 16-year-old schoolgirl who wishes to attend University of Oxford. Her studies are controlled by her strict, overbearing father, Jack. After youth orchestra rehearsals, Jenny waits at a bus stop on the street in the rain when she meets David Goldman, a seductive older man driving a Bristol 405. Telling her that he is a music lover and that he is worried about her cello getting wet, David convinces Jenny to put her cello in his car while she walks alongside. As the rain becomes stronger, Jenny asks David if she can sit inside his car. The two continue talking about music and, before being dropped off, Jenny confesses that she will be able to do whatever she wants when she reaches university, such as going to art galleries and watching French films, wishing for a life of culture and luxury. The following week, David leaves flowers on Jenny's front porch, wishing her luck at her youth orchestra's concert. Later, she sees him outside the cafe she and her friends are in and approaches him. After a little small talk, David asks Jenny if she is free to go see a concert and have supper with him and his friends. She happily agrees and thanks him.

On the night of the concert, Jack disapproves of Jenny going while her much more lenient mother, Marjorie, tells him otherwise. David comes by to pick Jenny up and to talk to her parents, where he easily charms Jack into letting him bring Jenny home later than her curfew. They arrive at the concert where Jenny meets David's friends, Danny and Helen. Afterward, they go to dinner at a fancy restaurant, where they invite Jenny to an art auction. David picks up Jenny at school and they go to the auction, winning a bid for a painting by Edward Burne-Jones and going to Danny's place afterwards. They talk about Oxford and they all agree to go and visit together the following weekend.

Jenny hears a commotion late one night and sees David drinking with her parents. He then uses the opportunity to ask them if he can take Jenny to Oxford, saying that he used to study there and would like to visit his old teacher, Clive Lewis, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia. Her parents are reluctant at first, but agree, seeing it as a good opportunity. At Oxford, Jenny discovers that David is a con man who makes money through a variety of shady practices. She is initially shocked but silences her misgivings as she succumbs to David's charm. Back at her home, Jenny and David have their first kiss. Jenny then shows a signed copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to her parents, which David actually signed. Impressed by his connections and charisma, Jack and Marjorie approve of their romantic relationship.

On the night of Jenny's 17th birthday, David arrives with presents and tells her parents that he intends to take her to Paris as a special birthday gift. Her father angrily disapproves, but later agrees after David talks to him. In Paris, the two dance, take photos, and Jenny eventually loses her virginity to David. Back in London, Jenny gives her favourite teacher, Miss Stubbs, Chanel perfume as a gift from her trip. Miss Stubbs refuses the gift, telling Jenny that she knows where it came from and is both concerned and disapproving of her relationship with David. They argue and have a falling-out. Later that night, David proposes marriage. Jenny accepts the proposal and, after an argument with the headmistress, decides to drop out of school and not apply to university.

While getting petrol on their way to dinner with her parents, Jenny rummages through the car's glove compartment for a cigarette and discovers, through letters, that David is already married. Shocked, Jenny tells David to take her and her parents back home. Jenny argues with David, telling him she gave up her education to be with him. David says he will get a divorce and agrees that he will go and tell her parents the truth with her. She then goes inside her house, her father asking what happened. Jenny tells her parents that David is mustering up the courage before coming inside to confront them. However, he drives off and is never seen again.

Jenny despairs, blaming Danny and Helen for not telling her the truth early on and blaming her parents for letting her throw her life away with an older man. Jenny confronts David's wife, and learns that David is a serial adulterer, and has a son. Later that night, Jack apologizes to Jenny, admitting that he messed up and that he believed David could give her the life she wanted. Jack points out that although David wasn't who he said he was, Jenny had also deceived her parents about David's nature by playing along with some of David's lies to her parents. Jenny then goes back to her school, requesting to repeat her last year and take her exams, but is refused re-admission. She then goes to Miss Stubbs, asking for help. She resumes her studies and is accepted at Oxford the following year. In a closing voiceover, Jenny shares a story about dating boys her age and starting over with fresh eyes, despite her experiences with David.

Cast edit

Production edit

Principal photography began on March 17, 2008. [12]

Development edit

Mulligan during a Q&A following the screening of An Education at Ryerson Theatre on 25 September 2009.

Nick Hornby created the screenplay based on an autobiographical essay by the British journalist Lynn Barber about her schoolgirl affair with conman Simon Prewalski, referred to by her as Simon Goldman, which was published in the literary magazine Granta (82: Life's Like That, Summer 2003).[13][14] Hornby was the boyfriend of Amanda Posey, the film's producer, whom he later married.[15]

Both the memoir and the film also allude briefly to Peter Rachman, the notorious post-World War II London property speculator, who Goldman is working for. Barber's full memoir, An Education, was not published in book form until June 2009, when filming had already been completed. Hornby said that what appealed to him in the memoir was that "She's a suburban girl who's frightened that she's going to get cut out of everything good that happens in the city. That, to me, is a big story in popular culture. It's the story of pretty much every rock 'n' roll band."[16] Although the screenplay involved Hornby writing about a teenage girl, he did not feel it was more challenging than writing any other character: "I think the moment you're writing about somebody who's not exactly you, then the challenge is all equal. I was glad that everyone around me on this movie was a woman so that they could watch me carefully. But I don't remember anyone saying to me, 'That isn't how women think.'"[16]

Visual style edit

Although Jenny's family home is supposed to be in the suburb of Twickenham, Middlesex (incorrectly referred to as 'Twickenham, London' – Twickenham did not become part of Greater London until 1965), the residential scenes featured in the film were shot on Carbery Avenue[17][18] in the Gunnersbury area of Ealing, west London as well as Mattock Lane in West Ealing and The Japanese School in Acton, which used to be the site of the girls' school called Haberdashers' Aske's School for Girls.[19] The concert hall shown in the film, St John's, Smith Square would have still been a wartime ruin at the time the film was set. It was subsequently restored and opened as a concert hall in October 1969.

Release edit

Carey Mulligan and Peter Sarsgaard at the New York premiere in October 2009

Critical response edit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 93% based on 197 reviews, with an average rating of 7.9/10. The site's consensus reads: "Though the latter part of the film may not appeal to all, An Education is a charming coming-of-age tale powered by the strength of former newcomer Carey Mulligan's standout performance."[20] The film has a Metacritic score of 85/100 based on 34 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[21]

Box office edit

An Education grossed £1,633,504 in the UK.[22] and $US26,096,852 worldwide.[23]

Accolades edit

An Education won the Audience Choice award and the Cinematography award at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.[9] Mulligan won a Hollywood Film Festival award for Best Hollywood Breakthrough Performance for a Female.[24] It was selected as Sight & Sound's film of the month.

The film received three nominations at the 82nd Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Actress for Carey Mulligan and Best Adapted Screenplay, but did not win in any category.[25] The 63rd British Academy Film Awards saw the film come away with one award (for Best Actress) from nine nominations. The film received six British Independent Film Awards nominations and five Satellite Awards nominations.[26][27]

Home media edit

An Education was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 30 March 2010.[28]

Theatrical play edit

The first adaptation of the screenplay to live theatre was staged at the University of St Andrews in 2019 at the annual On the Rocks Festival.[29]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "An Education (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 5 February 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  2. ^ "An Education (2008)". BBFC. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b "An Education". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  4. ^ "Nominees & Winners for the 82nd Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  5. ^ "Colin Firth, Helen Mirren and Carey Mulligan lead British hopes at this year's Oscars" Archived 3 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Hello. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Sundance unveils competition lineup". Variety. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
  7. ^ Lambert, Christine (2009). "An Education premiere at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival". Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  8. ^ "Telluride by the Sea" Archived 25 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Archie Thomas (20 February 2008). "Bloom, Molina, Hawkins join 'Education'". Variety. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  10. ^ "Orlando Bloom Drops Out of Education". 17 March 2008. Archived from the original on 22 May 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  11. ^ "Royal Birmingham Conservatoire - Acting Graduates". Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  12. ^ "Bloom drops out of Scherfig's "Education" | Reuters". Reuters.
  13. ^ "An edited extract from the introduction to An Education: The Screenplay by Nick Hornby (Penguin). The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  14. ^ "An Education" by Lynn Barber, Granta 82: Life's Like That. Published Summer 2003. Pages 203–223.
  15. ^ Barber, Lynn. "An Education." Granta. 107 Essays & Memoir. 12 August 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  16. ^ a b Christy Grosz "Nick Hornby takes pen to screen with 'An Education'". Los Angeles Times. 13 September 2009. Retrieved 14 September 2009.
  17. ^ Rose, Steve (2 June 2011). "10 of the best films set in London". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  18. ^ Nicholls, David (18 February 2010). "Your property as a film location: Home, set, home". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 22 February 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  19. ^ Barber, Lynn (7 June 2009). "Educating Lynn: take one". London: The Observer. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
  20. ^ "An Education Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  21. ^ "Metacritic An Education Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive.
  22. ^ "AlloCine - Select your country".
  23. ^ Subers, Ray. "An Education Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database.
  24. ^ Hollywood Film Festival (5 October 2009). "Hollywood Film Festival to Honor Carey Mulligan and Jeremy Renner". MovieWeb. Archived from the original on 13 January 2020. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
  25. ^ "Carey Mulligan and Colin Firth lead British Oscars charge". Metro (UK). Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  26. ^ "BIFA 2009 Nominations". BIFA. 3 December 2009. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  27. ^ "Satellite 2009 Nominations". The LA Times. 4 December 2009. Archived from the original on 4 December 2009. Retrieved 3 December 2009.
  28. ^ London Academy of Film Media and TV. "English Actress Carey Mulligan" Archived 2 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  29. ^ Notley, Euan (13 April 2019). "On the Rocks Review: An Education". The Saint. Retrieved 2 November 2020.

External links edit