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2009 Film Festival - An Education

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 12, 2009 - An Education, Directed by Lone Scherfig. In 1961, shortly before the capital of England became known as “Swinging London,” a bright, intellectually restless high-school girl (Carey Mulligan) is charmed off her feet by an older man (Peter Sarsgaard) who turns out to be a thief and a scam artist. 

In a priceless scene that sets the tone of themovie, the bounder manages to con the girl’s father (Alfred Molina, in a memorable performance) into virtually begging him to take his daughter to Oxford for the weekend. Pretty soon, after more smooth talk, the two are off to Paris with the gullible father’s blessing. Hints that the charming suitor may not be fully adult – after all, he wants the girl to call him “Bubble-Up” – do not deter her from unwisely falling in love with him.

A major hit on the film festival circuit, “An Education” is beautifully paced and superbly acted. Based on a British journalist’s coming-of-age memoir, it is funny, sad, rueful, and cautionary. The elegant script by Nick Hornby (“High Fidelity”) combines dark comedy, biting social satire and emotionally compelling romantic melodrama. Sure to be in consideration for major awards.