An Education

Rated 4.0

Danish director Lone Scherfig’s smart and charming An Education provides what should be a career-making role for its equally charming young star, Carey Mulligan. She plays Jenny, an intelligent but sheltered prep-school girl straining at the leash of her overprotective father (Albert Molina, making magic out of a role cobbled entirely from clichés of British middle-class uptightness). Her adventurous release comes in the form of David, a handsome and slithery gadabout who gives Jenny a new education in glamour, danger and general irresponsibility. Coming-of-age stories are a dime a dozen, but Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Lynn Barber’s 1960s-set memoir keeps it fresh by crafting and staying true to a complex and well-rounded main character. The film’s only significant debit is a decent but very un-British Peter Sarsgaard in the key role of David.