Sometimes, you just can't grade another paper. And Thursday afternoon was one of those times. So what'd I do? Watched a movie, of course.
A young girl seduced by an older man may be a common story, but An Education is no common movie. As Jenny, a precocious middle-class British schoolgirl charmed by a small-time criminal, newcomer Carey Mulligan is luminous; her face can be plain and beautiful at the same time, her eyes expressing a restless intelligence and a hungry soul. As David, the seducer, Peter Sarsgaard (Year of the Dog, Garden State) gives yet another rich, thoughtful performance. The script, adapted by Nick Hornby (whose novels High Fidelity and About a Boy have been made into movies), is full of unexpected details that bring every moment to life. Director Lone Scherfig (Italian for Beginners) has made sure that every character is vivid and real; even seemingly minor moments have texture and vitality. The supporting cast--including Alfred Molina, Emma Thompson, Cara Seymour (Adaptation), Dominic Cooper (The History Boys), and Olivia Williams (Rushmore)--is simply impeccable. In a small but memorable part, Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day) shows an unexpected (and marvelous) comic side. In short, An Education is a funny, smart, and compassionate movie that will launch a great career for Mulligan and be a jewel on the filmographies of everyone involved.