This British drama is handsomely textured and beautifully acted, though the script often feels giddily out of touch with the essential creepiness of the scenario.
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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.
For all its original touches, though, An Education follows a conventional trajectory.
Topped by a fine cast, a first-rate script by Nick Hornby and tight direction by Lone Scherfig, the film is a smart, moving but not inaccessible entry in the coming-of-age canon.
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.
Afterward, you'll want to listen to the Beatles sing ''She's Leaving Home.'' It might be a girl like Jenny the lads had in mind.
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.
An Education is remarkable for the traps it doesn't fall into. Jenny, for all her naive impulses, isn't a victim.
Carey Mulligan shines in a captivating performance.