Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 191 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: In the post-war, pre-Beatles London suburbs, a bright schoolgirl is torn between studying for a place at Oxford and the more exciting alternative offered to her by a
    charismatic older man. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. 100
    This happens in 1961, when 16-year-old girls were a great deal less knowing than they are now. Yet the movie isn't shabby or painful, but romantic and wonderfully entertaining.
  2. 100
    An Education captures the very limited possibilities for female liberation in early-'60s London -- with massive social change on the distant horizon, but not here yet -- in exquisite detail.
  3. 91
    An Education shares with Hornby’s best work trenchant insight into the way smart, hyper-verbal young people let the music, films, books, and art they love define themselves as they figure out who they are and what they want to be.
  4. Disarming and unexpectedly poignant, An Education contrasts the knowledge learned in school with that learned from life.
  5. Watch Mulligan's face as she goes from weary to awakened, and see it all come together.
  6. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Carey Mulligan shines in a captivating performance.
  7. Lone Scherfig directs it all as if it were a breezy lark, so a third-act tonal shift makes for an incongruous, excessively moralistic fit with everything that’s preceded. Most insulting, though, is the way in which the climactic passages miraculously tidy up every frayed edge of Jenny’s life.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 51
  2. Negative: 5 out of 51
  1. Nov 4, 2011
    An Education is a nice coming-of-age tale with an important message that may resonant with a lot of young people. And it sports an impressive cast and a star-making performance from Carey Mulligan. 4/4 stars. Expand
  2. Happy
    Dec 6, 2009
    Wonderful, faithfully recreated tale from a bygone non-pc era.
  3. May 14, 2013
    There probably aren't enough words to outline how beautiful, enjoyable, emotionally driven and often humorous the fantastic An Education is,but lets try anyway.
    Taking place in 1962, we meet Jenny, a 16 year-old schoolgirl, played very convincingly and warming by Carey Mulligan, we see Jenny being swept off her feet by the mysterious and confident David, (played by Peter Sarsgaard), in a time when an Oxford education is sought after, but a wealthy husband will do just fine.
    Jenny is introduced to a world alive and full of colour when she is in David's company, joined by his friends Helen (Rosamund Pike) and Danny (Dominic Cooper), they embark on a journey throughout the lives of free-spirited individuals, concerts, late night suppers, trips throughout the country and beyond. The film really outlines just how different life was in 1960s Britain, it was perhaps more acceptable for the events that unfold in the film, but with such a sunny outlook there are of course clouds in the distance.
    As common sense would go, its natural for people to be concerned about the blossoming relationship, simply for how much brighter the other path seems, its a difficult and thoughtful concept of educational needs over living life through your own accordance.
    Peter Sarsgaard puts in a fantastic performance as the classy and forthright David, someone who gets what he wants, and knows just what to say, but without ever seeming deceiving or over-bearing about it. Sarsgaard perfectly captures someone who easily sways those around him to live life in the fast lane.
    Mulligan puts a superb performance in as the smart, witty and beautiful schoolgirl Jenny, a girl who loves to think for herself, but rarely sees a life outside of her books and overbearing yet kind-hearted father (Alfred Molina).
    The era that the film is set in is perfectly handled by the superb writing and wonderfully acted gem of a film, that never tries to aim too high above what story it is telling, it never claims to be something it isn't.
    While the ending was a little weak and too expected after the last half hour, this is a wonderful film that takes a risky subject but in a way opens up the eyes of the younger generation to all sorts of opportunities, outlining that not everything is black and white.
  4. EdwardK
    Nov 21, 2009
    As some have suggested, the plot is predictable, but oh the performances. And most of the characters and script are outstanding. Perhaps the father and the headmistress are overdrawn, but Jenny (Carey Mulligan) and David (Peter Sarsgaard) and their friends were well worth watching. Expand
  5. Apr 14, 2012
    Crammed with great acting and powerful storytelling, An Education rises above the normal romantic film by providing a realistic sense of life and a bold point to make sure it stands out. Although the second half falls low in character; it is no secret that An Education is an excellent film. Particular praise to Carey Mulligan, who offers a strong and diverse performance. Expand
  6. RichardE
    Nov 26, 2009
    This is a mostly well-done movie with a knock-out performance at the center, and some nice ambiguities -- but there are some real problems with its (plural word coming) politics. A problem-and-a-half could have been handled easily if one doesn't mind a major change from a source, and this one doesn't: David is just "David" until Jenny discovers letters addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. David Gold." Make that "Mr. and Mrs. David Bulwer-Smythe," and have David's ethnicity and class remain ambiguous -- the man *is* a liar -- and that would help with the anti-Semitic undertone and middle-class anxiety about both the upper-class and lower-middle rung-grabbers. As the film stands, we have a Jewish adult male as a seducer of a nice gentile/Aryan, a Jew who is not just a thief but a block-busting realtor helping dark-skinned people move into the neighborhood. Emma Thompson's Headmistress's speech on Jews as Christ-killers is misdirectiion: the real fears insufficiently addressed are "The Lustful Jew" and "The International Jewish/Black Conspiracy." As others have said, the feminist message is undercut by having Headmistress antiJewish; its an additional problem when it confuses the anti-Semitism. The anti-Romantic message in the film is okay, but _An Education_ also teaches fear and distrust of adult strangers and reinforces (among other stereotypes) that of the Stupid Teen who needs to stick to her own kind and the conventional teachings of middle-class prudence. There's much to be said for such prudence, but chronic distrust of strangers reinforces age-segregation and helps eat away at social solidarity. I will seriously consider the message here next time I'm tempted to offer a lift to any teenager caught in the rain with the possibility of her -- or his, for that matter -- precious cello getting ruined. Adult strangers who offer a favor are obviously up to no good! Expand
  7. Mila
    Mar 14, 2010
    "Mulligan was perfect"? What came over you, people?! She doesn't develop a character at all

See all 51 User Reviews


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