An Education

Fish Tank in suburban London in the 1960s, basically. Class shame makes the parents of bright young Carey Mulligan complicit in her seduction by suave but creepy Peter Sarsgaard, a man ten years her age. If he's got the papes (and regardless of how he gets them) it's all gravy. Mulligan -- brilliant, confident and bored out of her mind -- wants an out. Oxford used to be it, until Sarsgaard turned up with his nightclubs and restaurants and fun. That's what Britain is missing, Jenny tells her teachers. What's all this education for if you end up with a boring life? She learns tho, innit... there are no short-cuts to fulfillment. The point: you don't get yr education in school.

Fine performances all round. Alfred Molina could have just delivered a caricature, but his crazed outburst about money not growing on trees is genuinely shocking, and the repentance at the end is exquisitely poignant. Great work also from Rosamond Pike as the street-wise doll who cannot quite manage refinement. My love for Olivia Williams knows no bounds, and she's stellar in the otherwise generic role of inspirational teacher. That final scene she has with Mulligan is a total tear-fest, although I confess to being a sucker for this kind of aspirational stuff (when Battlestar Galactica did it I cried buckets). Anyways, the whole thing would have fallen apart if Carey Mulligan wasn't so freakin excellent. New Keira, for serious. I was wondering where the next one would appear. Can't wait to see her kicking ass and taking names in some upcoming rollercoaster-based blockbuster... but she'll go far without my career advice.

The film does get a little BBC at times, some scenes are borderline hack-work. Nick Hornby's script is at its best when it sticks to restraint and comedy. But, you know... niggles. iPlayer it. You shall not be left disappointed.

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