Fave 2009 Girl Movie #2: An Education by Lone Scherfig!


Fulfilling his indie legacy, Peter Sarsgaard delivers rogue intelligence as the suave 30-ish seducer David in Lone Scherfig's 2009 ensemble gem, <span style="font-style:italic;"> An Education</span>. Unexpected is Carey Muliigan's acute and subtle performance as Jenny, a star student at a staid English girls school who unwittingly falls for his smooth moves. Mulligan first appeared as the giggly younger sister Kitty in Joe Wright's 2005 version of Jane Austen's <span style="font-style:italic;">Pride and Prejudice</span>, a role that barely hinted at her depth. She shines in <span style="font-style:italic;">An Education</span> as a bright, soon-to-be 17-year-old with a cigarette poised over a map of Paris.

Set in a stodgy suburb near the swinging London of 1961, Jenny's aspirations clearly transcend that of her conservative parents, Jack and Marjorie, played with expert social climber naiveté by Alfred Molina and Cara Seymour. To Jenny's surprise, David's wit, cultivation and French sports car quickly charm them, and they grant her permission to enter a sophisticated late-night world. The ensemble cast is enhanced by Dominic Cooper as David's art-worldy business partner Danny, and Rosamond Pike, as Helen, a wide-eyed party girl with a fabulous up-do. Despite the make-overs and weekend getaways, the film takes an unexpected girl-friendly turn <span style="font-style:italic;">sans</span> Lolita-esque ruination. A smoky jazz soundtrack provides an added layer of seduction.

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