BTEC Media Studies - An Education Review (Overall)
An Education is a film which is set in 1961 in suburban London and is about a typical beautiful 16 year old teenage girl called Jenny Mellor (Carey Mulligan). She is on track to succeeding into going to Oxford University in the ongoing future. She is a smart, intelligent girl who is eager to start her adult life. She’s grown tired of the familiar adolescent routine, so when urbane newcomer David (Peter Sarsgaard) appears in town, Jenny senses a rare opportunity to shake things up a bit. However during her studies, she meets a charming Jewish man called David Goldman, who is somewhere in his mid-30’s. He persuades her romantically to travel around to the world to concerts, clubs, and restaurants. David dazzles Jenny, showing her the true wonders of a 60’s life, demonstrating true classical music, art auctions, crowded pubs with fine food, well designed clothes. The story continues about how Jenny and David’s have an inappropriate relationship and David seduces her into agreeing to marry him. Jenny encounters a big decision on whether or not to stop her studies and just go on life being married happily to David. Her final verdict ends up with her making the decision to quit her dream of going to Oxford and marry David.
At the start of the film, Jenny’s parents come across as very over controlling adults, who always want the best in their young girl. Jenny is brighter than most kids her age, and her parents always dreamt of getting their exceptional daughter into Oxford. However we realize that as soon as David comes into their lives, they get manipulated in a charming way into agreeing with everything he says. This allowed David to take Jenny out late at night, although it did affect her studying and grades at school.
At the end after quitting her studies, David decides to take Jenny and her family out for a meal, to celebrate their engagement. As David stops at a petrol station to make a phone call, Jenny decides to rummage around for cigarettes. Although instead of cigarettes, Jenny finds mail in David’s car addressed to David… and his wife. Suddenly, Jenny turns from a happy, engaged teenager, to an upset, distraught person. David insists that he was going to divorce his wife, so he could continue having a enjoying future with Jenny, however Jenny is determined that she no longer wants to marry him and requires for her and her parents to be taken back home instead of going to the meal.
That night Jenny tells her parents what she found in Davids car, and explain how she does not want to marry an “already married man”. This leads to Jenny, having no qualifications from school and no man to marry. She requests to sit her previous year of schooling all over again, and to her own luck, she is allowed to re sit her last year of exams.
In the end to Jenny continues to attempt to get good grades, enough to get accepted into Oxford. The ending demonstrates how Jenny made a big mistake in life, however luckily, due to her previous good school grades, was allowed to continue her exams and succeed into going to Oxford.
I thought that the main vibe of the film was excellent, how you truly felt you were back in the 60’s. Hairstyles and miniskirts were common in them days, so dressing the main characters like this really made us see what their fashion senses were like. The way that the film was presented was great as it recreated the time well by including many great details which were well known back in the 1960’s. The way that you got to see two different lifestyles was great as you were able to see a more traditional, hardworking, educated family and a richer, outgoing family, enabled us as the viewers to see the major differences between the different lifestyles. Carey Mulligans performance as a teenager growing up into an adult was by far outstanding, as recognized by the “Best Actress Award”. The way that she was in most scenes, portrayed her talent, allowing viewers to really see her inside character. The overall story line of a young girl being reeled in by an older man, really demonstrates how easy it actually is for an older person to attract someone a lot younger than them. It really shows how your life can change from one major decision.
The whole genre was “Of Coming of Age” which overall can sometimes be quite interesting, however as this film included more romance and drama as well, I started to get bored in areas. I prefer more horror and thriller films, so An Education did start to bore me quite a bit. I felt that some scenes really dragged on a bit, and just made me want to “hurry them up”. I also felt that ending was very predictable, as due to the film being so “happy”, something upsetting would have had to have happened at the end. However I felt this was left far too late and was only realized right at the ending. Nothing exceptionally interesting happens to David as all you see is him driving away upset. A more intense ending would have really ended the film on a better note. Even a cliffhanger leading onto another film would have improved it. An ending with a less predictable twist would have shocked the viewers, rather than just ending with something most people would have predicted. I felt there were a lot of mistakes in the film also. For example near the start when Jenny, David, Danny and Helen are driving in the car, Jenny is in the back seat. Although 5 seconds later when they pull up the house, Jenny walks out of the car from the passenger seat and Danny is in the back. Towards the end, as Jenny leaves the bus she visits her teacher, she clearly is carrying nothing. But as she enters the teacher’s apartment she is carrying a straw bag. As well as this I noticed that when Jenny meets David for the first time, it’s heavy shower. However, it’s obvious on some shots that actually it’s sunny; therefore it’s raining only “above the car”.
In conclusion, I would rate the film 4/5 stars, mainly just due to the predictable ending and the mistakes which I noticed. Also, the romantic genre of the film wasn’t really my cup of tea and I prefer more thrillers, so I wouldn’t exactly say it was one of the best films I had ever watched. I would recommend this film to British film lovers and people who enjoy a great romance and drama story.